In exchange for the plea, prosecutors will drop felony charges of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder and conspiring to commit that crime, both of which carry maximum penalties of 10 years in prison. Prosecutors also will drop a misdemeanor charge of hazing causing physical injury. Prosecutors will recommend that Jurrens hand down one-year "delayed sentences" for the defendants. In such a scenario, the defendants would receive one-year probation terms. If they successfully complete those, prosecutors would drop the charges altogether. "We didn't feel that what happened necessarily should have ended up with all these guys getting felonies," said Prosecutor John McColgan Jr. "They can prove what they're made of, and if they're not on the up and up, they'll be doing jail time."
Jurrens in December presided over a preliminary hearing for the four men. The judge in February ruled probable cause existed for the four men to stand trial on the felony charges. The four men were scheduled for trial Tuesday before Circuit Judge Robert L. Kaczmarek, but once they accepted the plea deals, court officials remanded their cases to Jurrens. A no contest plea means the defendants do not contest that prosecutors' evidence would convict them. It is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes. In binding the defendants over for trial in February, Jurrens wrote there was probable cause to suggest the student did not consent to the level of injuries he suffered.
Jurrens wrote that the victim testified a majority of two-hour meetings held at the Hiawatha address consisted of one or more of the defendants "striking each pledge in succession with open hands about the torso and/or a ... wooden "paddle" on the buttocks." The paddle, the judge wrote, was 6 inches by 6 inches by 12 to 18 inches. The defendants assigned the victim to the end of the line, apparently because he was the tallest pledge, and "routinely awarded him a 'double portion of each beating,'" Jurrens wrote. While he continued to pledge the fraternity, the victim "concluded that at least one of the defendants (defendant Hoskins in particular) intended great bodily harm," Jurrens wrote. The victim on Oct. 30 had an "odd" feeling in his leg upon exiting a car with two other pledges and passed out, Jurrens wrote. Later, he woke up in another pledge's dorm room to find somebody changing his clothes, the judge wrote. After again losing consciousness, the victim woke up in the hospital "disoriented, not recognizing his mother or sister, with his speech impaired, and barely able to walk," Jurrens wrote.
After learning of the allegations, which SVSU's University Police began investigating Nov. 4, SVSU officials indefinitely suspended the school's Omega Psi Phi chapter pending the results of a school investigation. Following the investigation, school officials continued the suspension and notified the fraternity's national office. The fraternity must apply for reinstatement and receive approval from SVSU and the fraternity's national office before resuming any campus activities, Boehm said. All four men remain free -- Hoskins on a $10,000 bond and the other three on $10,000 personal recognizance bonds. Their sentencing dates were pending. (excerpted from Michigan Live for educational purposes; byline: Andy Hoag)