Five FAMU fraternity brothers are under arrest and facing felony charges for hazing. The arrests come after pledge Marcus Jones had to be hospitalized after he was blindfolded and beaten in February.
FAMU police and Leon County sheriff's deputies announced the charges Tuesday morning. Five Kappa Alpha Psis are now staring down felony charges for beating a pledge to the point of stitches and surgery.
Larry Campbell, Leon County Sheriff, says, "That's not fun, that's not brotherhood, that's criminal activity, and there's a difference between the two."
Calvin Ross, FAMU Police Chief, added, "For the most part, these are very bright students. However, they made some poor and stupid decisions."
Court papers describe pledges being blindfolded and taken to an abandoned warehouse where they were beaten with canes, sometimes so hard the canes would break. Victim Marcus Jones says ten of the pledges passed out from the pain and he remembers being doused with water as brothers revived him.
Dawn Whitehurst, the Jones' family attorney, says, "When this incident occurred, it basically surprised them all, and obviously with this incident happening to their son, they felt it was criminal, it should not have occurred and that criminal charges should have been brought against those responsible."
Deputies say the ringleader that week in February was senior engineering major Michael Morton. Also facing felony charges are Kappas Brian Bowman, Cory Gray, Marcus Hughes and Jason Harris. FAMU’s police chief says they have already been suspended from school, and deputies say more arrests are on the way.
The Sheriff's Department sent out 26 subpoenas in all and won't specify how many more students may face hazing charges.
We did try to reach Kappa Alpha Psi's executive director, Richard Snow, for comment Tuesday afternoon, but with no luck. Policies on the fraternity's Web site clearly condemn hazing.