Jena Six defendant Bryant Purvis, 19, who will head to trial at the end of March to face charges of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy, now has an assault charge to deal with in an unrelated case.
Purvis, who since the Jena incident has been living in the Dallas area with his uncle, Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Jason Hatcher, was arrested yesterday and charged with assault causing bodily injury, a misdemeanor that carries a possible fine of up to $4,000 and a possible jail sentence of up to a year. He was freed after posting $1,000 bond this morning.
The AP reports that Purvis, a basketball player on the Hebron High School team, learned that his car had been vandalized after he left a game Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, according to his mother, Tina Jones, he found out that a classmate named Christopher Jones had flattened his tires and approached Jones to retaliate. The Dallas Morning News reports that, according to the Denton County arrest warrant, Purvis “choked him and then pushed his head into a bench, bruising his eye.”
Purvis said in a written statement, “I walked over to him and grabbed him by his neck, then told him not to mess with my car anymore, then I left.”
“I’m very upset right now with this situation,” Tina Jones told the Town Talk, a local paper covering news in the Jena area. “We are really, really going through a lot already with the Jena Six. I wish this had never happened. But it is what it is, and now we have to deal with it.”
Indeed. No one who followed the Jena case needs to be reminded that Judge J.P. Mauffray, who will see Purvis in court in March for his role in the alleged beating of Jena High School classmate Justin Barker, is already predisposed to find Purvis and his fellow defendants guilty. If convicted of both charges, Purvis faces a maximum sentence of more than twenty-two years in prison. Purvis pleaded not guilty of both charges on November 7. This new charge can only weaken his defense.