UPPER MARLBORO -- The long-delayed trial of 24 members of a University of Maryland College Park fraternity accused of hazing was postponed yesterday because the attorney for most of the defendants was in Baltimore defending city Comptroller Jacqueline F. McLean.
William H. Murphy Jr. asked for a delay during a conference call in the chambers of District Judge Thurman H. Rhodes.
The trial, which has now been postponed three times, was rescheduled for tomorrow.
The 24 members of Omega Psi Phi fraternity were charged in May 1993 with beating six new members during initiation. One pledge suffered a ruptured spleen and collapsed lung, and another suffered broken ribs and a ruptured eardrum, according to police.
Each defendant was charged with seven counts of hazing, a misdemeanor. Each count is punishable by six months in jail and a fine of $500.
Witnesses told campus police that during a three-month period in early 1993, fraternity members punched, kicked and hit the pledges, sometimes using whips, brushes, belts or wooden paddles.