Mychal Bell, the 17-year-old who has been at the center of the “Jena Six” controversy, is back in jail after a judge ruled Thursday that he had violated probation for prior juvenile convictions, according to CNN. He is reportedly at the Renaissance Home for Youth in Alexandria, Louisiana.
Louisiana State District Judge J.P. Mauffrey Jr. sentenced Bell to 18 months in the juvenile facility for four previous offenses, including two counts of simple battery and two pertaining to criminal destruction of property that occurred before the beating of classmate Justin Barker, according to The Associated Press. The decision came at the end of a two-day juvenile court hearing that was closed to the media, CNN reports. The Thursday portion lasted six hours and, according to AP, one of Bell’s lawyers said he was expecting another routine session.
“He’s locked up again,” Bell’s father, Marcus Jones, told AP. “No bail has been set or nothing. He’s a young man who’s been thrown in jail again and again, and he just has to take it.”
Bell’s attorney Carol Powell-Lexing said the ruling would be appealed.
Bell was among a group of black teens who were initially charged with the attempted murder of Barker on December 4, 2006, after a series of incidents, which included white students allegedly hanging nooses on a tree planted on high school grounds. At the time of the Barker beating, Bell was already on probation for the previous charges.
He was originally convicted on two felony counts: second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit same. But a Louisiana district judge threw out Bell’s conspiracy conviction, after which 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.) LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters later announced that he would not appeal the decision to try Bell in juvenile court. He was freed on September 27 on $45,000 bail posted by a stranger.