Though his mother came to the courthouse with a fresh change of clothes, Mychal Bell, the only member of the so-called "Jena Six" who has remained in jail since the group's arrest in December, was not released on bond Friday, according to CNN.
Bell, 17, is accused with five others of beating Justin Barker in a school fight. He has been incarcerated since his arrest more than nine months ago.
"We'll be back," shouted one Jena Six supporter outside the courthouse Friday.
According to The Associated Press, lawyers would not comment because juvenile court proceedings are secret and the media was not allowed into the courtroom. But the father of one of Bell's co-defendants said Bell's bail request was denied. Bell's mother left the courthouse in tears and refused to comment.
Bell is the only member of the Jena Six to stand trial so far, and was convicted on two felony counts: second degree battery and conspiracy to commit same. Earlier this month a Louisiana district judge threw out Bell's conspiracy conviction, and last week a Louisiana appellate court vacated Bell's battery charge, on the grounds that he should have never been tried as an adult. (The legal age in Louisiana is 17.)
He remains in jail, however, unable to post a $90,000 bond while prosecutors decide whether or not to pursue charges against Bell in juvenile court, according to CNN. Bell was on probation for previous juvenile offenses at the time of the alleged beating. Attorneys for Bell were also unsuccessful in their attempts to get Judge J.P. Mauffray removed from the case.The decision not to release Bell comes after a highly charged week of protests in the small Louisiana town of Jena, where many civil rights leaders are decrying the case as an example of uneven justice (see "Thousands March On Louisiana Town To Support 'Jena Six' "). It is estimated that anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 protesters made their way to Jena for protests on Thursday.
The tension in Jena originally rose after several white students hung nooses from a tree on the grounds of the Jena high school, harkening back to the days of Southern inequality and racism (see "Jena Six: What Sparked Protesters To Descend On Small Town In Louisiana?").
In a related story, in Alexandria, Louisiana, less than 40 miles from Jena, authorities said they arrested two people spotted driving a red pickup truck with two nooses hanging off the back Thursday night. The driver slowly passed groups of demonstrators awaiting buses back to their home states, according to CNN.
Police identified the truck's driver as 18-year-old Jeremiah Munsen, who was charged with driving while intoxicated, inciting a riot and contributing to the delinquency of a minor — the 16-year-old passenger in his truck. According to CNN, as police were questioning the driver, he told them that he had an unloaded rifle in the back of the truck, which police found, along with a set of brass knuckles in one of the car's cup holders. The passenger told them that he and his family are members of the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan, and that he had KKK tattooed on his chest. He admitted to tying the nooses to the truck and said the brass knuckles were his.