Man pleads to charges in hazing case
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
One of nine men charged in a Youngstown State University fraternity hazing case that sent one man to the hospital with serious injuries has pleaded guilty to charges in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Michael Charles, 28, of Illinois Avenue, was set for trial Monday before Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on two counts of felonious assault. Charles, however, entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors just before his trial started.
Charles pleaded guilty to amended charges of felony inciting to violence and misdemeanor assault. No sentencing date has been set.
Rebecca Doherty, an assistant county prosecutor, said Charles faces up to 31/2 years in prison at sentencing.
“I am very glad Mr. Charles took responsibility for his conduct in this incident,” she said.
The charges stemmed from the repeated beating of two pledges to the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity at a home in Youngstown in early 2012.
Charles has been free on a $50,000 bond since he was arrested in February 2012 and ordered to have no contact with YSU, the fraternity or the two victims in the case.
Eight other men are charged in the case and are awaiting trial. They are: Lavell Sharp, 25, of Green Acres Drive, Liberty; Wade Hampton, 24, of Austintown; Jairus Ford, 32, of Greeley Lane; Jason Anderson, 27, of Illinois Avenue; Trey McCune, 21, of Ohio Avenue; Edward Robertson, 28, of Catalina Avenue; Jerome Justice, 28, of Campbell; and Raheem Satterthwaite, 22, of Illinois Avenue.
One victim, Breylon Stubbs, a 22-year-old YSU sophomore at the time of the attacks, testified in Youngstown Municipal Court about the incident. He said he had known about the fraternity for years and always wanted to be a member. He told the court he learned more about the frat when he came to YSU, but his pledging was more than he imagined.
Stubbs said he and other pledges were at first made to attend study sessions to learn more about the fraternity and its history.
He said the sessions progressed to nightly rituals in which he and friend and fellow pledge Resean Yancey, 20, were consistently beaten. Paddles were sometimes used in the beatings.
Stubbs said the paddling took place regularly. He said he and Yancey also were subjected to full-force punches everywhere on the body and beaten with clothes hangers.
Stubbs, a theater major and actor at the time, said he had to go to the hospital twice for his injuries and once collapsed while performing in a play because of injuries sustained during the hazing sessions.
He also recalled the day he took Yancey to an area hospital for treatment.