DA Ends Bid to Try 'Jena 6' Teen as Adult

Move could hasten release of key player in Louisiana race case
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Sep 27, 2007 4:39 PM CDT
Melissa Bell, second from left, and Marcus Jones, second from right, parents of one of the Jena Six defendants Mychal Bell, attend a news conference with Martin Luther King III, left, and Rep. John Conyers,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A prosecutor has given up attempts to have one of the Louisiana teenagers at the center of a civil-rights furor tried as an adult, Reuters reports. Mychal Bell, 17, was convicted in June of battery in the beating of a white classmate, but an appeals court overturned the verdict on grounds that Bell couldn't be tried as an adult.

A spokewoman for civil-rights activist Al Sharpton, who led recent protests in Jena, La., said today's move could hasten Bell's release. Bell was among six black students who beat a white classmate last year. The group was first tried with attempted murder, but the charges were reduced amid accusations that the charges were excessive racially motivated.