Natchez man among 7 guilty of hazing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Seven former college students have struck a plea bargain and will likely get probation for a violent hazing attack that sent two fellow marching band members to intensive care, a Baton Rouge prosecutor said Tuesday.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore said the former Southern University students agreed to plead guilty to hazing and criminal conspiracy to commit second-degree battery, a felony. Moore said they likely would be sentenced to probation.

Moore said final paperwork would be filed Wednesday with the state district court.

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Before the plea arrangement, the seven faced a maximum of 50 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

The alleged December 2008 beating occurred in the home of a suspect’s family, about three miles from campus. Three victims apparently wanted to be members of ‘‘Mellow Phi Fellow,’’ a subgroup of the French horn section not recognized by the university, according to sheriff’s investigators.

The three victims were blindfolded and told to remove their shirts, then doused with water as ‘‘senior members of the organization struck them numerous times with open hands,’’ court documents said.

One of the three victims stopped the ritual after being hit with a wooden board more than 50 times, investigators said. He later identified the suspects to investigators.

The beating continued for the other two victims, who later were hospitalized in intensive care and ‘‘facing possible organ failure,’’ investigators said.