Six Mississippi State players avoid jail time

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Six Mississippi State football players
accused of assaulting an off-duty police officer pleaded guilty
Thursday to reduced charges.

Cornerback Derek Pegues, safety Keith Fitzhugh, offensive tackle
Michael Gates, quarterback Tray Rutland and defensive ends Charles
Burnes and Quinton Wesley -- all freshmen -- were each fined $500 and
received six-month suspended sentences for misdemeanor simple

"We are extremely pleased with the outcome," said attorney Jay
Perry, who represents the players.

Police chief David Lindley and prosecutor Roy Carpenter could
not immediately be reached for comment.

The players had been suspended indefinitely by Mississippi State
coach Sylvester Croom.

Croom said he hasn't decided if they will play in the season
opener Aug. 31 against South Carolina.

The pleas came four days before the players faced a hearing on
the charges. Had they been convicted of felony assault, they each
could have faced up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Authorities have said the April 1 incident took place at a party
of campus. Police said Officer Demetric Armstead was off duty and
attending the event with his fianceť.

Police said when an argument escalated between two women,
Armstead intervened.

Police said that's when the suspects assaulted the officer,
knocking him to the floor and kicking him and punching him.