Four plead guilty in JSU hazing case
by Paige Rentz
prentz@annistonstar.com
May 22, 2013 | 8569 views |  0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Four men pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges stemming from a 2011 hazing incident involving a Jacksonville State University fraternity.

Justavious Quintae Johnson, 22, of Jacksonville; Juston Thomas, 23, of Birmingham; Mikel Whitter, 23, of St. Louis, and Varian May, 28, of Oxford, each pleaded guilty to one count of hazing, a misdemeanor.

Johnson, Thomas and Whittier — who were being initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity during the off-campus incident — were each initially charged with one count of hazing, a misdemeanor. If they comply with the terms of the agreement, according to Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Weems, the cases effectively will be dismissed, and the pleas will not appear on their records.

May was initially charged with first-degree assault and two counts of hazing, one for committing the act and one for failing to report it. He pleaded guilty to one count of hazing, and if he complies with the terms of the agreement, prosecutors will recommend a sentence of one year of probation, Weems said. If he fails to comply, she said, he could face 90 days imprisonment or probation, the length of which would be determined by a judge. May’s charge will remain on his record.

Under the agreements, prosecution of the four men will be delayed for one year, according to Weems. During that time, they are required to pay court costs, perform community service, testify as required for other cases moving forward and have no contact with the victim.

“All agreements and offers and pleas have been discussed with the victim and his civil attorney,” Weems said. “In adult cases, we try to work with and comply with whatever requests the victims make.”

The victim, Jason Horton, filed a civil suit last year against Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, its JSU chapter and fraternity officials.

In the complaint, Horton alleged that pledges were made to drink vodka and mustard, struck with eggs and flying objects, and were beaten repeatedly with fists and paddles. The next morning, according to the court document, Horton vomited all day and was discouraged by fraternity members from seeking medical treatment. By the time he was taken to the hospital that evening, his urine was black, he was bleeding internally, and his kidneys were functioning at 50 percent, the complaint says.

A total of 18 men have been charged in the incident, and Weems said approximately 10 of those cases are ongoing. Weems said some of the suspects may be granted status as youthful offenders, whose records would be sealed.

Others charged

Each charged with first-degree assault and two counts of hazing:

-- Jeremiah Antwon Bradford, 24, of Harpersville

-- Brandon Marquell Bush, 23, of Phenix City

-- Fidel M. Corfah, 23, of Lawrenceville, Ga.

-- Daniel Dwayne Covington, 23, of Fairfield

-- Juston Patrick Daniel, 23, of Jacksonville

-- Antonio Davis, 28, of Montgomery

-- Quintin Deandrae Day, 27, of Anniston

-- Adeoye Faleti, 23, of Jacksonville

-- Jacolby Quantel Parks, 24, of Atlanta

-- Benjamin Puckett, 23, of Jacksonville

-- Carl Robinson, 22, of Jacksonville

-- Rhyan Anthony Swanson, 24, of Jacksonville

Each charged with one count of hazing:

-- Roosevelt Morgan Jr., 21, of Leeds

-- Jeremy Deshaun Potts, 21, of Tallassee

Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.
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