Last year, twelve former Florida A&M University band members were charged with manslaughter in the 2011 hazing death of drum major Robert Champion. Ten of the band members were charged last May with felony hazing, but the prosecutors in the case raised the charges to manslaughter and added two additional defendants.
Champion, 26, died after being beaten on a school bus after a football game in Orlando, Florida. The beating was part of a hazing ritual, and required pledges to run down the center of the bus while being punched and kicked by other band members. Authorities say Champion had bruises on his chest, arms, shoulder and back and died of internal bleeding within an hour of the beating. Witnesses told emergency dispatchers that the drum major was vomiting before he was found unresponsive aboard the bus.
Jessie Baskin, 22, who pleaded no contest to manslaughter in November, was sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation today for manslaughter.
State Attorney Jeff Ashton described Baskin as “the one person who is most consistently identified as the most enthusiastic participant” in the hazing — landing “blows with hands and feet.”
Judge Marc Lubet says he thought the 22-year-old Baskin was remorseful and hoped a year in jail will get the word out that “hazing will not be tolerated.” The remaining suspects are awaiting trial.