FAMU Ex-Band Member Gets Probation In Robert Champion Hazing Death

Brian Jones, a former Florida A&M University band member charged with the hazing death of fellow band member Robert Champion, was sentenced Monday to two years of probation and six months of community control.

Jones, 23, is one of 12 people who were charged with the hazing death of Champion. He pleaded no contest to third-degree felony of hazing causing injury or death.

The hazing of Champion occurred on a chartered bus that was returning from a trip on November 2011. The ritual, as reported by CNN, was called “crossing the bus,” in which an individual runs from the front of the bus to the back while being “punched, kicked and assaulted by senior members.” The hazing included the use of drum mallets, reports CNN.

An autopsy ruled Champion’s death -- an hour after the hazing -- as a result of hemorrhagic shock due to blunt force trauma. The death was later ruled a homicide and 12 members of FAMU’s “Marching 100” band were charged for their roles.

Judge Marc Lubet, in sentencing Jones, said, "I think you're worth saving," according to Reuters. Lubet had stated that Jones only had a minor role in the hazing death of Champion.

In addition to six months of community control and two years of probation, Jones will have to complete 200 hours of community service and attend a four-hour hazing class. As part of community control, Jones will have to record his activities and request permission for trips.

According to eyewitness reports, Jones did participate in the hazing of Champion. Prosecutor Nicole Pegues said Jones was seen placing Champion in a bear hug during the hazing, reports Reuters.

Before Jones’ sentencing, Champion’s mother, Pamela Champion, spoke to Jones while addressing the courts, saying "You will always know your part in what you've done, it will haunt you," according to the Orlando Sentinel.

During the sentencing, Jones apologized for the death of Champion, saying, "Hazing is a completely inexcusable thing. ... It went further than anybody would ever have imagined or wanted or thought it would go," reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Trials for the other 11 band members charged with the hazing death of Robert Champion will begin next year.

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