This is a just resolution to the racially-charged case. These young men were initially charged with attempted murder and conspiracy, they ultimately pleaded no contest to simple battery, and will serve a sentence of just 7 days of probation.
In addition, a civil suit filed by the family of Justin Barker was settled when the Jena 6 defendants (including Mychal Bell) agreed to pay the Barker family an undisclosed settlement. Attorneys are not allowed to reveal the details of the settlement but a reliable source has disclosed that the payment was approximately $24,000.
ColorOfChange.org said that the plea deal marked an acknowledgement by officials that the Louisiana justice system initially treated the then-teenage boys too harshly, privileging white students' accounts of a schoolyard fight over those of Black students in the largely segregated town of Jena.
"Today's plea deal shows that the original charges in the case were unfair and vastly overblown," said James Rucker, ColorOfChange.org's executive director. "The story of the Jena 6 was an extreme example of what can happen when a justice system biased against Black boys operates unchecked. But it's also an example of what can happen when hundreds of thousands of people across the country stand up to challenge unequal justice. Together, we drew the country's attention to this case and raised the money necessary to fund a strong legal defense."The Jena 6 are now free to move ahead with their lives. Mychal Bell served his time under an earlier agreement. Each of the five remaining defendants in this case pleaded 'no contest' to the misdemeanor charge of simple battery. Each will be placed on non-supervised probation for one week and must pay a $500 fine and in most cases an additional $500 in court costs.
Pictured (left to right) are Corwin Jones, 20, Jesse Ray Beard, 18, Bryant Purvis (20), Robert Bailey (19) and Theo Shaw (20) and attorney Alan Bean. Judge Thomas Yeager was clearly impressed that all five of the defendants who appeared before him today are enrolled in college.
In a week of tragic news ... it is nice to end it with a victory. The Jena 6 are free!