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Four Copiah County men sentenced for simple assault

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Cell Phone video of fight Cell Phone video of fight
HAZLEHURST, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

During an open plea inside a Hazlehurst courtroom, four Copiah County men admitted to assaulting 24 year old Jamal Virgil in a Waffle House parking lot.

The Hazlehurst Waffle House is where exclusive cell phone video was taken and sent to WLBT just hours after 24 year old Jamal Virgil was beaten in the early morning hours of July 4th.

Since that beating, 35 Calvin Lawrence, 35 year old Antonio Porter, 30 year old Walter Harris and 20 year old Jesmond Rockingham have pled guilty to simple assault charges according to Hazlehurst Police Chief Byron Swilley. The four men were sentenced the maximum penalty of six months behind bars, will pay a $500 fine and will be on probation for two years after their release.

"I mean we as a family are really just displeased," said Jason Holmes, Virgil's older brother. "If anybody did see the video then automatic you would understand that this charge is more than simple assault. That the penalty that they did receive should have been more than what they did receive."

Hazlehurst Police Chief Byron Swilley said because a weapon was not used during the assault charges can not be upgraded.

"My brother was not rewarded for the pain and suffering that he did go through," add Holmes. "I just wish that the law would have seen it better than they did. So, we are not pleased with the choice they made, what they decided to give these guys."

Virgil is recovering from trauma to the head, a fractured jaw, broken nose and busted eye sockets.

Virgil, was allegedly walking through the Waffle House parking lot to go inside the restaurant. That's when Holmes, says his brother was attacked by four men.

"You have a video, that's concrete evidence that shows that these men didn't have no kind of mercy what so ever as far as my brother goes, no mercy," said Holmes.

"My brother didn't have no trouble with these guys," Holmes added. "And these guys that was in this situation know that my brother is innocent. He had nothing to do with it. He never had an altercation with them, never ever talked to them a day in his life."

Chief Swilley says it's unclear if the men knew each other before the altercation or what sparked the fight, adding that the investigation is on-going.

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