MOULTRIE, Ga. — A total of six people face charges — one of them a serious felony — in an incident that left a Georgia Southwestern State University student critically injured. Originally reported to have taken place Oct. 31, the report says it actually happened about 1:30 a.m. Nov. 1.
Chason Worsham, 23, was arrested Nov. 6 on a charge of aggravated battery while Prem Patel, 19; Jamal Simpkins, 20; Austin Sheltra, 23; Brandon Abbott, 22; and Matthew Cannon, 18, were charged with affray on Nov. 8.
The latter five surrendered themselves to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Nov. 8. Only Abbott, Cannon and Simpkins are GSW students.
These arrests were made in relation to the attack on GSW junior Tyler Ellis of Moultrie, who suffered two brain bleeds, a skull fracture and multiple facial fractures.
The GSW Campus Police’s disorderly conduct report on the fight was released Thursday but the names of all students in the case are redacted, including Ellis’s. The Observer has verified their names through other sources.
According to the disorderly conduct report from the Nov. 1 fight, Patel, a student whose name was redacted, and Worsham “engaged in verbal altercation” with another student at William B. King Drive, the Kappa Sigma Fraternity House.
This quickly led to a group fight where a student (presumably Ellis) “was struck in the facial area by [Worsham] with a leaping punch” that knocked him unconscious and caused him to fall backwards, hitting the back of his head on asphalt.
GSW Campus Police responded at 1:45 a.m. and made contact with “redacted [again presumed to be Ellis] who was bleeding from his nose and facial area.” Campus police notified EMS which took him to Phoebe Sumter Medical Center for treatment.
The report stated that campus police investigated the matter and interviewed 13 witnesses revealing the identities of at least four people involved in the altercation.
It also stated that a student was originally charged with disorderly conduct, but the charge was upgraded to affray and moved to Superior Court.
Witnesses also told police that “redacted” (possibly Ellis) received only one punch and was not kicked, stomped or assaulted by anyone else while unconscious, the report read.
According to what Ellis’ mother, Stephanie Ellis, told The Moultrie Observer on Nov. 5, Tyler will have lasting issues stemming from his injuries in the coming months. Among them are “extreme” headaches, dizziness, left ear hearing loss and balance issues.
He is also on anti-seizure medication as a precaution and will have computerized tomography scans in the following months, she said at that time. She doesn’t know when he’ll return to school.
Since then, the family and their lawyer have said “no comment” to further questions from The Observer as they prepare for legal action once the investigation subsides and the case is finalized.
A GSW press release said the students charged will receive conduct reviews to check any violations under the student code of conduct.
The fraternities involved in the incident, Kappa Sigma and Sigma Chi, are also undergoing administrative review and are currently under social suspension, GSW said.
“The University is working with both organizations to help them better understand their roles as social hosts,” the press release read.
All the students’s names were redacted by GSW under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.