One of the San Jose State University students accused of taking part in hate crimes against his roommate pleaded not guilty in court Monday.
Prosecutors say Logan Beaschler, 18, of Bakersfield, was one of four students who took part in barricading a black roommate in his bedroom and clamping a U-shaped bike lock around his neck. He was scheduled to next appear in court on March 4. He is being represented by Chuck Mesirow.
The other defendants: Joseph Bomgardner, 19, of Clovis, and Colin Warren, 18, of Woodcare, and a juvenile, have yet to enter pleas.
Beaschler reportedly told investigators the actions were part of a "satire" and he thought it would be funny, saying it was part of a prank war.
San Jose State has hired retired Santa Clara County Judge LaDoris Cordell to lead a special task force to review the facts and make recommendations.
Cordell is doing the work for free. "I'm doing the work because I care," she told NBC Bay Area.
The task force was appointed amid allegations that the four white freshmen subjected their black freshman roommate to racial slurs, barricaded him inside his room and slightly injured him while attempting to place the bike lock over his neck.
DOWNLOAD: Statement from Santa Clara County DA
After the allegations surfaced last month, SJSU administrators ordered the four students suspended and the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office filed misdemeanor battery charges with a hate crime enhancement against them.