On Dec. 2, Bailey and two friends jumped a white male entering the "Gotta Go" grocery. When the latter ran to get a shotgun out of his car, they wrested it from him and took it. So two witnesses at the "Gotta Go" agreed.
Two days later came the "schoolyard fight." Only this was no fight. Black students barricaded an exit to the gym and lay in wait for Justin Barker. As Barker went for another exit, he was struck in the head from behind by Mychal Bell. Multiple witnesses say Barker fell unconscious as a gang of eight or 10 blacks stomped and kicked him in the head. The assistant principal who reached Barker thought he was dead. Barker's emergency room bill ran to more than $5,000.
When the six were arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder, none of them and none of the witnesses mentioned the noose incident. It had had nothing to do with this vicious racist assault.
After the charges were reduced to battery, Bell, tried as an adult, was indeed convicted by an all-white jury -- because no blacks answered the summons to the jury pool. Why was Bell prosecuted as an adult? Because he had four prior convictions for crimes of violence.
After his conviction was overturned, Bell was ordered retried as a juvenile. Rather than face the same 17 witnesses, he pled guilty in December to hitting Barker from behind, slamming his head into a concrete beam and kicking him in the head. Sentenced to 18 months in juvenile detention, he agreed to testify against his co-conspirators.
While some $500,000 has been raised for the Jena Six defense, its whereabouts is unknown. Bailey did pose on the Internet grinning, however, with $100 bills in his mouth. Bell's mom is said to be driving a new Jaguar, and Bailey's mom a new Beamer. Two other Jena Sixers, Carwin Jones and Bryant Purvis, appeared in rapper attire on Black Entertainment Television as presenters of a Hip-Hop Award.
A week ago, 6-foot, 6-inch Purvis, who had transferred to Hebron High in Carrollton, Texas, was charged with assault, choking a student and ramming his head into a bench.
And that's the Saga of The Jena Six. It belongs right up there with the Rev. Al's other classics: Tawana Brawley and the Duke rape case.
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