Greek court clears 9 men of murder in beating death of American student Bakari Henderson

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A court in Greece delivered no murder convictions in the fatal beating of 22-year-old American graduate student Bakari Henderson, who was chased down by an angry mob and viciously attacked on a Greek island in July 2017.

CBS News reports six of the men were convicted of various assault charges and sentenced in the death of Henderson, who was confronted by a group of angry Serbs inside a bar after taking a selfie with a Greek bartender. The woman told investigators that when she posed with the young entrepreneur, a man nearby said, “There are a lot of Serbs in the bar. Why are you talking to a black guy?”

The man then smacked Henderson in the face, and Henderson defended himself by hitting back. The brawl moved outside, where a mob of men chased him down the street and beat him to death.

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Though six men have been convicted of various assault charges and face five to 15 years, the verdicts handed down on Thursday left Henderson’s family even more heartbroken, as they had hoped for murder convictions.

The rulings have been appealed by a Greek prosecutor, the report states.

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After the sentencing, his father Phil Henderson told CBS News outside the court that he, “can’t understand, a man’s life here in Greece doesn’t mean anything.”

“You should not be able to chase a man down and beat him to death and not go to jail,” his wife, Jill Henderson, added.

Henderson’s parents believe race played a role in their son’s death.

“His face was bruised and swollen,” Jill told CBS News, “to the point where we put sunglasses on him when we buried him.”

There were nine defendants on trial — seven Serbian nationals, one Greek and a Brit of Serbian origin. All were cleared of murder, three were exonerated and all claimed they had not intended to kill Henderson.

The defendants were reportedly seen hugging and exchanging high-fives in court after the verdicts were read.