5 Ole Miss students charged in beating at fraternity house

Ole Miss beating suspectsOXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Five University of Mississippi students have been arrested following the Oct. 6 beating of another student.

A university police report shows the beating happened about 4 a.m. at the Sigma Pi fraternity house, where junior accounting major Jeremy Boyle is a member.

The Daily Mississippian reports Boyle suffered a concussion, several broken teeth, a ruptured eardrum and a lung contusion. He was treated at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford and released.

Tucker Cole Steil, a freshman, was charged Friday with felony assault in the beating of Boyle. The Oxford Eagle reports Steil posted $10,000 bail and was released Monday from the Lafayette County jail. The Clarion-Ledger reports Steil’s age as 18.

Four other freshmen were charged with misdemeanors and released. James Declan Basile is charged with simple assault, hazing and theft. Christian Guy, Kyle Hughes and Austin Rice are each charged with theft. The Clarion-Ledger says all three are 19 years old.

The arrests sparked widespread notice because all but Steil are shown smiling in their arrest photos.

“It’s just disgusting,” student Rienzi Gray told WHBQ-TV. “How could you be happy?”

A heavily redacted police report does not specify why the beating was considered hazing, or what the students are alleged to have stolen. University police Capt. Jane Tutor said officers are still investigating and more information may be available when the investigation is complete.

“The safety and welfare of our students are among our highest priorities. Upon learning of the incident, the University Police Department immediately initiated an investigation that led to recent criminal charges and related student conduct proceedings,” Ole Miss spokesman Danny Blanton said. “As one of the safest campuses in the country, we are committed to holding students responsible for their behavior.”

The report indicates the students were also referred to the university’s Judicial Council for discipline. Ole Miss policies state that students and student organizations must “exercise integrity and respect for the dignity of each person by refraining from the act of hazing in any form.”

Boyle’s father, Brian Boyle, was quoted by The Daily Mississippian as saying that he’s upset his son’s alleged assailants haven’t faced stiffer penalties.

“What we’re finding is the leniency we’ve had so far on these assailants,” Brian Boyle said. “That’s the biggest problem. They had gone through the university’s justice system and were, for all intents and purposes, slapped on the wrist. In the meantime, you’ve got accused felons walking around the campus.”