Plea deal for one of Jena 6

December 04, 2007|By Chicago Tribune

HOUSTON -- The district attorney in the racially charged Jena 6 case in Louisiana agreed to a plea bargain yesterday that sharply reduced the charges against the first of the six black teenagers who faced trial. Attorneys for other defendants said the prosecutor appeared eager to avoid taking their cases to court as well.

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters, whose initial decision to charge the black teens with attempted murder for beating a white youth was widely condemned as excessive, dropped a conspiracy charge against Mychal Bell, 17, and agreed to let him plead guilty to a juvenile charge of second-degree battery, with a sentence of 18 months and credit for time he has served in jail.

District Judge J.P. Mauffray approved the plea agreement yesterday afternoon, just three days before Bell's trial in juvenile court was to have begun.

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