The trial of three young men charged with the racially tinged hazing of a fellow San Jose State student will start Dec. 1, a Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Lori E. Pegg decided Wednesday.
The trial is expected to last two weeks, and it was not clear Wednesday which judge will hear the case.
A fourth young man who was underage at the time of the alleged hazing last fall will be dealt with outside the public eye in juvenile court. All four have pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor battery and hate crime charges.
San Jose State has expelled two of the defendants, Logan Beaschler, of Bakersfield, and Woodacre resident Colin Warren, both 19, and banned them for life from enrolling at a California State University college.
The other defendant, Clovis resident Joseph Bomgardner, 19, has been suspended until July 31. He must complete at least five counseling sessions with an outside therapist and attend a follow-up meeting with school officials in July. If he decides to return to campus, he will remain on permanent probation.
Their trial comes nearly a year after reports surfaced that then-17-year-old Donald Williams Jr. was subjected to repeated abuse, including being wrestled to the ground and having a bike lock clamped around his neck. He was also called racially derogatory names, locked in his room and taunted by the display of Confederate flag, according to police reports and court documents.
The revelation sparked community outrage, an internal investigation, an apology from the college president, criminal charges and the creation of a task force.
In a finding that may bolster prosecutor Erin West's case, the university concluded this spring that Beaschler and Warren violated six university rules, including jeopardizing Williams' safety.
Lawyers for all four young men contend the incidents were part of a broader series of pranks that included other students in the dorm. Attorney Eric Geffon, who represents the juvenile, has said that clamping the bike lock around someone's neck, for instance, was something the young men saw on Comedy Central.
Williams has filed a claim seeking $5 million from the university, alleging that a dormitory adviser ignored a "a potentially explosive and dangerous situation" that was "developing in Room 704."
Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482. Follow her at Twitter.com/tkaplanreport.