2 Florida Fraternity Brothers Sentenced for Hazing

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Two Florida A&M students accused of going too far in a fraternity hazing ritual have each been sentenced to two years in prison.

Michael Morton, 23, and Jason Harris, 25 are two of five fraternity members suspected in last year’s hazing of 19-year-old pledge Marcus Jones. Morton and Harris’ lawyer, Richard Keith Alan II was also charged with indirect criminal contempt.

The judge in the case said she wanted to send a message to other fraternity members.

Jones suffered a ruptured eardrum and injuries to his buttocks when Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity members blindfolded him, beat him with boxing gloves and paddled him with wooden canes. The events took place over the course of four days.

Morton, the fraternity’s former president, was convicted of inflicting the punishment. Harris’ part in the incident was to encourage Jones to be beaten and revive him with water after he passed out so he could be beaten even more.

This was Florida’s first prosecution under its new law that makes hazing a felony if it results in serious bodily injury or death. It is the toughest in the nation, and those convicted under it can be sentenced up to five years in prison. The law was created after the 2001 drowning of an 18-year-old freshman during rush week at the University of Miami. The freshman drowned while attempting to swim across the campus lake after consuming too much alcohol.

The other defendants in the case are Brian Bowman, 23, Cory Gray, 22, and Marcus Hughes, 21.

This was the second trial for all three defendants. In the first, the jury did not reach a verdict for any of the defendants. In this trial, the jury couldn’t come to a decision regarding Bowman, Gray and Hughes. A third trial for the remaining defendants is scheduled for March.

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