Former FAMU student, Marcus Barrington, has been through a revolving door of hearings and trials since March, following a highly controversial and publicized grade changing scandal.
Monday, Barrington was sentenced to 84 months (7 years) in state prison and three years of supervised probation.
The scandal has brought a slew of controversy over academic dishonesty at FAMU.
The courtroom was filled to capacity as the bailiff escorted Barrington inside at 4 p.m.
Defense attorney Hugo Rodriguez called three witnesses pleading for leniency on behalf of Barrington, including his mother Kay.
Kay Barrington told the judge, “I believe in second chances, as I am an example of one, and I ask you all to please not allow this one distraction to dictate the rest of my son’s life.”
Beverly Scott, a close friend of the Barrington family from Orlando, has known 24-year-old Barrington since his childhood.
“Marcus’ mother and I have raised both of our kids up in the church from the cradle, and we have always taught them to be role models and law abiding citizens,” said Scott. “The prison system does not help young men but instead it stifles them.”
Prior to his sentencing, Barrington spoke on his own behalf to his mother in an emotional expression of sorrow, embarrassment and disappointment.
“I am sorry to put you through this. You instilled morals and religious values while making sacrifices for me, and you should not have to be here to witness this,” Barrington said.
As Barrington’s voice trembled, he turned toward his mother and gestured to her as he awaited the judge’s final verdict.
In a last and final effort, Defense Attorney Rodriguez asked the judge to take into consideration that this is the first offense for Barrington and that without a second chance, Rodriguez himself would not have been standing there as a successful public defender.
Prosecuting attorney Eric Mountin argued the actions of Barrington were not simply a mistake, but instead a premeditated criminal act.
“Many students have been affected and now when they go into jobs with resumes, hiring managers may wonder if their grades were involved in this scandal,” Mountin said.
Presiding over the case was Chief Judge Stephan P. Mitchell.
After a short recess he returned with his verdict and decision on sentencing.
Mitchell directed his comments to Barrington directly, “I have heard both sides, and I have not heard you admit that you have done anything wrong.”
Mitchell recommended Barrington be incarcerated near the Orlando area where his family could have closer access to him, then he turned him over into the custody of the bailiff as Barrington was escorted back out of the courtroom.