Recently released police mug shots of five University of Mississippi students arrested in connection with the brutal beating of a student in a rival fraternity show four of the suspects smiling.
Accounting major Jeremy Boyle was in the Sigma Pi house October 6 when he heard something outside and went to investigate, Fox13 News reported. He was then reportedly beaten by five members of Pi Kappa fraternity. A university police report shows the beating happened about 4 a.m. at the Sigma Pi house—where Boyle is a member.
The fraternity brothers were stealing a donkey statue from the top of the Sigma Pi house, Boyle's family tells the Daily Mississippian.
Boyle suffered a concussion, several broken teeth, a ruptured eardrum and a lung contusion as a result of the attack, the newspaper reported. He was treated at an Oxford hospital and later released.
Tucker Cole Steil, a freshman, was charged with felony assault in the beating of Boyle. Fox 13 obtained a copy of the police report, much of which has been redacted.
Four other freshmen were charged with misdemeanors and released. James Declan Basile is charged with simple assault, hazing and theft. Christian Guy, Kyle Hughes and Austin Rice are each charged with theft. The Clarion-Ledger says all three are 19 years old.
The Oxford Eagle reports Steil posted $10,000 bail and was released Monday from the Lafayette County jail. The Clarion-Ledger reports Steil's age as 18.
The arrests have received national publicity because all suspects but Steil are shown smiling in their arrest photos.
"It's just disgusting," student Rienzi Gray told Fox13. "How could you be happy?"
The heavily redacted police report does not specify why the beating was considered hazing, or what the students are alleged to have stolen. University police Capt. Jane Tutor said officers are still investigating and more information may be available when the investigation is complete.
Boyle's father, Brian Boyle, was quoted by The Daily Mississippian as saying that he's upset his son's alleged assailants haven't faced stiffer penalties.
"What we're finding is the leniency we've had so far on these assailants," Brian Boyle said. "That's the biggest problem. They had gone through the university's justice system and were, for all intents and purposes, slapped on the wrist. In the meantime, you've got accused felons walking around the campus."
"The safety and welfare of our students are among our highest priorities. Upon learning of the incident, the University Police Department immediately initiated an investigation that led to recent criminal charges and related student conduct proceedings," Ole Miss spokesman Danny Blanton said. "As one of the safest campuses in the country, we are committed to holding students responsible for their behavior."
The police report indicates the students were also referred to the university's Judicial Council for discipline. Ole Miss policies state that students and student organizations must "exercise integrity and respect for the dignity of each person by refraining from the act of hazing in any form."
The Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Pi houses sit catty-cornered to each other on fraternity row.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.