Jury Selection Underway in Kappa Hazing Trial

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

Jury selection is underway in a hallmark hazing trial, a trial that'll test the teeth in Florida's new felony hazing law.

Five Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brothers are accused of beating pledge Marcus Jones with canes until he had to be hospitalized.

"Right now all we have are empty words and a document called an information. We are going to see if they (the prosecution) can put some meat on those bones," said defense attorney Richard Alan.

The five FAMU students are each charged with hazing. As of last year, hazing became a third degree felony in Florida and carries up to five years of prison time.

Court records describe how members of Kappa Alpha Psi blindfolded pledges, took them to an abandoned warehouse, and beat them repeatedly with canes.

"FAMU has already overcome so many things, and I believe we will continue to overcome whatever comes our way," said FAMU SGA member Kendra Rich.

FAMU's chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi was recently suspended for seven years.

"They are still around, just really low key. No colors, some wear colors, but no letters. They are just regular students now," said FAMU sophomore Denishia Yearby.

The students on FAMU's campus say since the start of the case attitudes toward pledging have changed.

"They are afraid they are going to be paddled or someone is going to beat them up or whatever, said FAMU sophomore Omari Brown.

Defense attorneys are planning to call up a host of witnesses for this case. Most notably, former FAMU trustee Corey Alston, FAMU Police Chief Calvin Ross and FAMU interim president Castell Bryant.

The defense will offer a motion to dismiss the case on Wednesday. If the judge denies that motion, the trial will proceed on Wednesday.


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