Three more defendants plead not guilty in alleged JSU hazing
by Rachael Griffin
Three more men pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of alleged hazing during a 2011 fraternity initiation at Jacksonville State University.

Juston Eugene Thomas, 22, of Birmingham, was present for arraignment Thursday morning in Circuit Judge Debra Jones’ courtroom.Thomas is charged with one count of misdemeanor hazing and told Jones he is still in the process of retaining an attorney.

Brandon Marquell Bush, 23, of Phenix City, submitted a written not guilty plea and waived his right to arraignment. Bush is charged with first-degree assault and two misdemeanor counts of hazing. Attempts to reach Victor Spencer, the attorney representing Bush, were unsuccessful.

Antonio Jarrell Davis, 28, of Montgomery, also submitted a written not guilty plea and waived his right to arraignment on Jan. 9, state records show.

Davis is charged with first-degree assault and two counts of misdemeanor hazing. Attempts to reach Amardo Pitters, the attorney representing Davis, were unsuccessful.

Attempts to reach Calhoun County District Attorney Brian McVeigh were also unsuccessful.

In December, 10 men were arraigned and pleaded not guilty in the same case.

Sam Monk, JSU’s attorney, said when the university did its initial investigation and determined the incident to be a potential criminal act it notified the DA’s office.

“The DA’s office has been systematically reviewing (the case) and has essentially done the entire criminal investigation since the time it was reported,” Monk said.

A lawsuit filed in July 2012 by former Alpha Phi Alpha pledge Jason Horton alleges that during a fraternity event on Nov. 26, 2011, he was made to drink excessive amounts of alcohol, beaten with fists and paddles and hit with eggs and other objects for more than four hours.

The following day, Horton claims in the suit, he began vomiting blood. When he sought medical treatment, against the advice of fraternity members, it was discovered he was bleeding internally.

Horton’s liver was enlarged, his kidneys were functioning at 50 percent and his urine was black. Horton spent 24 days in the hospital recovering from his injuries.

JSU’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha was dismissed from campus, with proceedings beginning before the lawsuit was filed, Monk said.
© 2013