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Felony counts for four JSU students involved in fraternity hazing scandal

11/29/2012

Six Jacksonville State University students were arrested prior to Thanksgiving break involving a hazing incident that took place off-campus one year ago.

Jeremy Deshaun Potts, 21, and Justavious Quintae Johnson, 22, were charged with single counts of misdemeanor hazing.

Rhyan Anthony Swanson, 24, Carl Robinson, 22, Benjamin Joshua Puckett, 23, and Juston Patrick Daniel, 22, have each been charged with first-degree assault, a felony, and two counts of misdemeanor hazing.

University Provost Rebecca Turner said that the hazing incident, which involved the Xi Xi chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, was one of the worst hazing cases in JSU history.

The incident occurred on November 26, 2011, and a formal complaint was filed in July 2012 by Jason Horton, one of the victims.

The lawsuit, filed in the Calhoun County Circuit Court, alleges that the incident lasted longer than four hours, and that the pledges involved were beaten for long periods of time with both fists and paddles, were forced to drink large quantities of alcohol, and were struck by eggs and other flying objects.

Horton was hospitalized for 24 days while he recovered from the injuries he sustained during the hazing. He claimed that when he vomited blood on the day after the incident, active members of the fraternity repeatedly told him that it was tomato sauce, and advised Horton not to seek medical treatment.

According to the complaint, he did go to the hospital on the following day, and was suffering from internal bleeding, an enlarged liver, kidneys functioning at 50 percent, and his urine was black.

According to Brian McVeigh, Calhoun County District Attorney, the hazing statute covers acts of both commission and omission. This means that suspects who witnessed the hazing incident but failed to report it may face charges.

Potts is serving on the SGA as Vice President of Organizational Affairs.

According to SGA president Jason Sumner, "After consulting with the administration, at this time the Student Government Association has no comment involving the situation involving the VPOA."

All six men are scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 20.

Alpha Phi Alpha, the first inter-collegiate fraternity among African American men, was founded in 1906 at Cornell University. Notable members of the fraternity include civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Olympic Gold Medalist Jesse Owens, and jazz musician Duke Ellington.

The Xi Xi chapter was founded at Jacksonville State University in 1980.

The fraternity is no longer present on campus.

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