Arraignments set for six charged with hazing at JSU
by Paige Rentz
Six men are scheduled to be arraigned next month on charges stemming from an alleged off-campus hazing incident last year involving a Jacksonville State University fraternity.

Jacksonville residents Juston Patrick Daniel, 22; Benjamin Joshua Puckett, 23; Carl Robinson, 22; and Rhyan Anthony Swanson, 24, each are charged with first-degree assault, a felony, and two counts of misdemeanor hazing.

In addition, Justavious Quintae Johnson, 22, and Jeremy Deshaun Potts, 21, have been charged with single counts of misdemeanor hazing. All six men are scheduled for arraignment on Dec. 20.

Calhoun County District Attorney Brian McVeigh said Thursday that the hazing statute covers both acts of commission and omission, meaning that suspects who witnessed hazing but didn’t report it can be charged.

McVeigh announced last month that a grand jury had issued indictments stemming from a Nov. 26, 2011, incident involving a JSU fraternity and that more indictments were expected.

An attorney for the university has said the fraternity is the Xi Xi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. The fraternity has since been dismissed from the university. At the time of the initial indictments, JSU Provost Rebecca Turner said that the incident was one of the worst hazing cases the school has seen.

While no details have emerged from the investigations by the university or the district attorney’s office, a lawsuit filed by Jason Horton in Calhoun County Circuit Court lists a number of allegations. Court documents allege that the hazing incident lasted for more than four hours, during which time pledges were made to consume large quantities of alcohol, were struck by eggs and other flying objects and beaten for long periods of time with fists and paddles.

The complaint, filed in July, also claims that when Horton vomited blood the next day, active members of the chapter repeatedly told him that it was tomato sauce and discouraged him from seeking medical treatment. When he was taken to a hospital later that night, reads the complaint, he was bleeding internally and his urine was black, his liver enlarged and kidneys functioning at 50 percent. He remained in the hospital for 24 days recovering from his injuries.
© 2012