Five face charges in beating of Newsoms man here

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Malicious wounding charges were certified Monday against five men charged in the March 5 beating of an 18-year-old Newsoms man:

Terrell Artis, Dontra Artis, James C. Scott III, Keith Sessoms and Dontrail Eley were charged in connection with a March 5 attack on Marvin Jackson. A misdemeanor charge of mob assault was dropped.

The victim told the court during Monday’s preliminary hearing that the incident happened after he came out of a bedroom at a friend’s apartment at 1200 East Washington Street and accidentally bumped another youth with the door.

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&uot;I said, ‘Excuse me,’ and I walked off,&uot; Jackson said. &uot;Then Terrell came up and asked me if I was gay. I told him it was none of his business.&uot;

Jackson started to have words with another man, then found himself surrounded by several others. One threw a punch, and he hit back. Suddenly, he said, several of them were punching and kicking him. He was carried into the kitchen and thrown to the floor, where he was hit with a chair and hot grease was dumped on him. Jackson indicated the five defendants as participants in the beating.

He estimated that he was hit more than 20 times, and hit between three and seven times with the chair.

&uot;Up against my back,&uot; he said when asked where he was struck with the chair. &uot;I got kicked in my face, my back, everywhere.&uot;

Jamerson showed the court photos of Jackson taken at Obici Hospital, showing his bruised and bloody face. Jackson’s facial injuries required several stitches and staples.

Defense attorneys attempted to have the charges reduced to assault and battery.

&uot;It’s quite clear that we had a melee going on, and he has not specifically identified any of the clients I represent,&uot; said Dwayne Strothers, speaking on behalf of Scott, Eley and Terrell Artis. &uot;He doesn’t know who kicked him, and he doesn’t identify any of them as picking him up and taking him to the kitchen.&uot;

&uot;He testified that he saw Mr. Sessoms kick him a singular time,&uot; Sessoms’ attorney, Steven Oser said. &uot;They have one kick and a bruise. At the very most, it’s assault and battery.&uot;

Jamerson disagreed.

&uot;If one person puts out a kick and everyone joins in, they’re all responsible,&uot; he said. &uot;It doesn’t matter if they got in one kick, two kicks or 25.&uot;

Arraignment was tentatively scheduled for April 27.

Because the attack was thought to have been provoked by Jackson’s sexual orientation, it was first turned over the FBI as a potential hate crime. However, the FBI decided that it did not meet the definition of a hate crime.