Mychal Bell, one of six black teens in the Jena Six case, shot himself in the chest Monday night around 7:40 in Monroe, Louisiana, where he’s been staying with a foster family.
Police Sgt. Cassandra Wooten said Bell’s wound isn’t life-threatening and believes he was upset over media coverage of his arrest last week on a shoplifting charge.
Bell was arrested less than one month after he completed a sentence for his role in the beating of a fellow classmate, Justin Barker, at Jena High School in 2006. He was sentenced to 18 months for his part in the crime and also served a sentence for three previous unnamed crimes.
The Jena 6, which attracted sympathy and garnered petition signers and monetary donations, have endured a series of public embarrassments.
Earlier this year, Bryant Purvis was arrested following an altercation with a fellow student he believed had vandalized his car. In October, he and another Jena defendant, Carwin Jones, posed “like rap stars” at the BET Hip Hop Awards. Robert Bailey Jr. posted pictures of himself on MySpace with a wad of $100 bills stuffed in his mouth, igniting interest in the accounting of the donated legal funds.
TX DRAGGING DEATH INDICTMENT
Shannon Finley and Charles Crostley have been indicted by the grand jury in the racially charged hit-and-run death of 24-year-old Brandon McClelland, whose body was found Sept. 16 on a country road in east Texas.
Authorities say the two suspects purposely ran over and killed McClelland following an argument on the way home from a late-night beer run.
To some, the case stirs memories of the notorious dragging death of James Byrd by white supremacists 10 years ago in Jasper, Texas. However, in the latest case, the victim and suspects had been friends for years.
LEVERT’S DEATH PROMPTS JAIL DRUG POLICY
The death of Sean Levert earlier this year in a Cleveland jail has let to a new policy proposal that allows more flexibility in giving inmates their anti-anxiety medication. The jail administrator and a jail doctor proposed the change to allow inmates to get their prescribed medication as soon as their prescriptions are verified.
Levert died March 30 after becoming ill, and his widow, Angela Lowe, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in June accusing jail officials of neglecting his medical needs. The lawsuit says the singer wasn’t given his prescription Xanax when he started serving a sentence for failure to pay child support.