Marcus Barrington Sentenced

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Update 9-21-09 at 11:08 P.M.

He helped changed the grades of more than 600 FAMU students. And now, Marcus Barrington will spend the next seven years in federal prison for it.

There were no cameras allowed in the courtroom Monday afternoon, as Marcus Barrington awaited his sentencing that could have put him behind bars for more than a decade

His mother, Kay, and others who knows him well, pleaded for the court to give Barrington a second chance.

But as the day came to a close, family and friends realized, that wouldn't be the case.

The mass grade changing scandal that took Florida A&M University by surprise nearly two years ago is coming to a close, as the third conspirator Marcus Barrington was sentenced to seven years in federal prison and an additional four years on probation.

"When somebody decides to do what they did in this criminal case, they take away that and that's not far to all the thousands who do the hard work, earn the grades and do the right thing," says Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eric Mountin.

While some FAMU students say the 7 years sentence was too harsh, others felt that situations like this put a black eye on the credibility of the university and those who hit the books for their high marks.

"Some people have kind of felt that it was unfair that if people didn't put in the hard work, they didn't deserve such a grade. Things happen, and people are serving consequences for that,"says fAMU student, Joash Gonsalves.

Barrington is the last of the three hackers to be sent to the pen, with Christopher Jacquette being sentenced in April 2009 and Lawrence Secrease in May 2009, both currently serving 22-months in prison.

FAMU has since made some important changes in security since the scandal first broke, including no longer allowing student workers in the registrar's office, better tailoring computer access to employees' job duties, and creating an instant notification system when changes are made.

Barrington also pleaded to the court this afternoon. saying he knew life would be filled with trials and tribulations but never he'd be in his position with shackles on his feet.

He then went on, with a tearful apology to his mother.

Barrington will now be placed in a federal prison, but his attorney has requested that it be close to his home, which is in Orlando, Florida.

5:42 P.M.

A FAMU student convicted in a mass grade changing scandal has been sentenced to seven years in prison and another 4 years of probation.

Marcus Barrington was found guilty of computer fraud and identity theft in March. He and friends Lawrence Secrease and Christopher Jacquette are accused of hacking into FAMU's computer system back in 2007 and changing hundreds of grades, and even some students' residency status.

Barrington's mother and a close family friend spoke on his behalf today, asking the judge to give Barrington a second chance.

Barrington also spoke and apologized to his mother.

Secrease and Jacquette are already serving 22 month sentences in federal prison.

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