Bell Pleads Guilty to Lesser Charge

Jena Six defendant Mychal Bell, facing trial as a juvenile after his conviction in adult court was tossed out in September, pleaded guilty yesterday to a battery charge stemming from his fight with Justin Barker. As part of the deal, USA Today reports, District Attorney Reed Walters dropped the conspiracy charge Bell was facing and reduced Bell’s aggravated battery charge to second-degree battery.

According to this AP report, the guilty plea carries an eighteen-month sentence, with credit for ten months of time served–Bell could be released within eight months. He must also, the report notes, “pay court costs plus $935 to Mr. Barker’s family, testify if his co-defendants in the Barker attack stand trial, undergo counseling and be reintegrated into the school system, his lawyers said.”

Bell will be sent to a group home and may return to public school as early as Monday. One of his lawyers, CNN reports, said “his client wants to go back to high school, where he was a football star, but ‘probably not in Jena.'”

Plea agreements for the other five defendants are likely to follow.

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