JENA, La. — A Louisiana appeals court has tossed out the battery conviction of a black teenager who faced 15 years in prison for the beating of a white classmate amid racial tensions in the north Louisiana town of Jena.
Mychal Bell had been convicted of aggravated second-degree battery. He’s one of the so-called Jena Six, a group of black teenagers charged in the beating of Justin Barker last December.
Bell, who was 16 at the time of the beating, was due to be sentenced Thursday in a case that has drawn international attention.
He and four others were originally charged with attempted second-degree murder. Those charges brought widespread criticism that blacks were being treated more harshly than whites following racial altercations involving Jena High.