The three former Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity members whose cases ended in mistrials entered plea bargains Monday in a state courtroom.
Brian Bowman, 23; Cory Gray, 23; and Marcus Hughes, 21, stood before Circuit Judge Kathleen Dekker, and each pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor hazing.
“Misdemeanor reduced their serve time to the maximum of one year probation,” said attorney Chuck Hobbs, who represented the young men.
The three were also sentenced to 30 days of community service at the Sheriff’s Work Camp, Hobbs said. “They can perform the work camp days in whatever city they live in,” he said.
Hughes is currently residing in Orlando.
Gray returned home to Montgomery, Ala., and Bowman is living in Oakland, Calif.
The sentences handed down in court came after weeks of negotiations between Hobbs and Frank Allman, assistant state attorney.
“It was a pre-arranged agreement with state attorney Allman to agree on one year,” Hobbs said. “The decision was made definite last Friday, and we had been in negotiation for six weeks.”
The three Kappa members began their sentences Monday following the court hearing.
“It was bittersweet,” Hobbs said. “On one hand, the three guys were relieved because they won’t be convicted felons, and they will be eligible to get their records cleared after their probationary period. There is still a profound sense of disappointment that Jason and Michael are still in jail and have that two-year sentence hanging over their head.”
Jason Harris and Michael Morton, the two Kappa members found guilty of felony hazing in December, are still awaiting Dekker’s final decision toward appeals, Hobbs said.
No date has been set for a follow-up hearing to address the appeals.
The three young men remained optimistic in court and are eager to go on with their lives, Hobbs said.
“My hope is to figure out a way that Bowman may obtain his diploma from FAMU,” Hobbs said. “Since he is done with all his course work, he is only waiting to receive his diploma.” Hobbs said he is working on a letter to the University to request permission for the release of Bowman’s certificate. Hughes and Gray have both continued their schooling in the cities where they live, Hobbs said.
The probation and community service sentences should be the last step the young men will have to deal with in the hazing ordeal.
The three men are not expected to go back to trial, Hobbs said.