By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
The state reached a plea agreement with Brent Vowell in the cowbell assault case at the Oktibbeha County Circuit Court Monday.
Vowell was originally charged with aggravated assault, but plead guilty to the lesser charge of simple assault.
Vowell was charged with assaulting William Matthew Brasher with a cowbell during a fight at a Mississippi State game in November of 2009.
Judge Jim Kitchens accepted the state’s recommendations and sentenced Vowell to 6 months in jail, with 4.5 months suspended pending good behavior. The remaining 45 days will be served on the weekends at the Oktibbeha County Jail. Vowell was fined $500 plus the cost of court.
Brasher’s civil case against Vowell, the Southeastern Conference, MSU and president Mark Keenum on the matter is still pending. The civil lawsuit represents one side of a legal argument.
MSU and Keenum were added to a civil lawsuit resulting from the alleged cowbell assault at the Egg Bowl two football seasons ago.
Brasher alleges Vowell used a cowbell to assault him at the Nov. 28, 2009 football game between MSU and the University of Mississippi at MSU’s Davis Wade Stadium. In the suit, Brasher says he suffered numerous injuries, including a 4-inch gash to his head, exposing his skull; permanent scarring; loss of consciousness; a concussion and loss of memory.
The initial lawsuit filing named the Southeastern Conference and its commissioner, Mike Slive, and reserved the right to seek the addition of MSU later.
In a Feb. 1 response, Slive and the SEC denied many points laid out in the suit. In his own answer, Vowell admits bringing a cowbell to the game but denies the alleged attack.
In the latest move, the plaintiff alleges MSU did not take adequate steps to enforce the SEC’s policy against bringing artificial noisemakers to football games and asserts officials knew or should have known failure to enforce the policy could result in the injuries Brasher sustained.
Vowell faces the charge of aggravated assault in connection with the case. In January, his attorneys sought – and were granted – more time to investigate the matter. A trial on the charge was rescheduled to the next court term, which starts later this month.
In other news, all of the murder cases set for this term were continued. The term is set to be completed on Friday, May 6.