Lawyers debate severity of injuries in FAMU hazing

Published September 28, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - Defense lawyers disagreed with a prosecutor Wednesday over whether a Florida A&M University student suffered serious injuries when blindfolded and beaten with canes and boxing gloves during a fraternity hazing.

Five Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brothers are being tried under a new Florida law that makes hazing a felony punishable by up to five years in prison if it results in serious bodily injury or death.

"They beat Marcus Jones with canes so severely he needed surgery to remove a blood clot from his buttocks and also they punched him wearing boxing gloves to the point he temporarily lost hearing," Assistant State Attorney Frank Allman said told six jurors and two alternates in his opening statement.

Defense lawyers, though, said the doctors who treated Jones, 19, of Decatur, Ga., will testify the injuries were "not that bad."

They said Jones suffered no broken bones or muscular injuries, his eardrum has fully healed and he had no permanent hearing loss. The buttocks injury was "a soft tissue injury, only a contusion to the buttocks surface," said Richard Keith Alan II, who represents one of the defendants.

Jones is expected to testify today. The trial is scheduled to last at least through Friday.