What Happened to the Jena Six?


Quick Answer

After having murder charges reduced to battery charges, the Jena Six served either probation or time in jail before moving on to pursue their educations, explains Peter Jacobs for Business Insider. Theo Shaw, Jessie Beard and Bryant Purvis enrolled in academic programs and Mychal Bell and Robert Bailey Jr. pursued their interest in football, reports Mary Foster for The Huffington Post. The man they were accused of attempting to murder, Justin Barker, remained in Jena.

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Full Answer

The trouble started in 2006 at Jena High School when a black student asked if he could sit under a tree that was supposedly reserved for whites only, explains Foster. The next day, three nooses hung from a branch of the tree. The town's majority white population widely regarded the incident as a prank, and the white students found responsible were not charged.

In retaliation, Jessie Beard, Bryant Purvis, Mychal Bell, Theo Shaw, Robert Bailey Jr. and Carwin Jones, collectively known as the Jena Six, beat up the white student Justin Barker. They fractured Barker's jaw and caused his eye to swell; the police arrested them for attempted murder, states Foster. They faced up to 100 years in jail. Their sentences were reduced to battery partly due to protests led by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

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