JENA, La. – A teenager at the center of a civil rights controversy is back in jail after a judge sentenced him on charges that were pending before the attack that put him in the national spotlight, his attorney said Thursday.
Mychal Bell, who along with five other black teenagers had been accused of beating a white classmate, went to juvenile court Thursday expecting another routine hearing, said Carol Powell Lexing, one of Bell’s attorneys.
Instead, after a six-hour hearing, state District Judge J.P. Mauffrey Jr. sentenced him to 18 months on two counts of simple battery and two counts of criminal destruction of property, Lexing said.
He had been on probation for those charges during the Dec. 4 attack on classmate Justin Barker.
“He’s locked up again,” Marcus Jones said of his 17-year-old son. “No bail has been set or nothing. He’s a young man who’s been thrown in jail again and again, and he just has to take it.”
After the attack on Barker, Bell was originally charged with attempted murder, but the charges were reduced and he was convicted of battery. An appeals court threw that conviction out, saying Bell should not have been tried as an adult on that charge.