No jail for student in FAMU hazing death
Florida A&M University student and band member Robert Champion, 26, died in November.
October 22nd, 2012
03:38 PM ET

No jail for student in FAMU hazing death

One of the students who was involved in the death of Robert Champion during a hazing initiation was sentenced Monday to six months of community control, two years of supervised probation and 200 hours of community service.

Another student had said he saw Bryan Jones holding the Florida A&M University band member in a bear hug.

Jones, who had previously pleaded not guilty before changing his plea to no contest, was sentenced on a charge of felony hazing resulting in death. The judge said if Jones didn't abide by the sentencing order he would face up to 72 months in a state penitentiary.

Jones will be required to document where he is going and make requests for trips under community control, which is the highest form of probation you can receive. It falls short of house arrest.

Champion died after taking part in a band hazing ritual that eventually led to his death. The ritual, known as crossing the bus, is an initiation process in which pledges attempt to run down the center aisle from the front door of the bus to the back while being punched, kicked and assaulted by senior members, band members have said.

Champion collapsed in Orlando on the bus, which was carrying members of FAMU's Marching 100 after a November football game that included a halftime performance by the group.

The medical examiner's office ruled his death a homicide and said Champion "collapsed and died within an hour of a hazing incident during which he suffered multiple blunt trauma blows to his body." An autopsy found "extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder and back" as well as "evidence of crushing areas of subcutaneous fat."

WFTV reporter Daralene Jones tweeted that Jones corrected the spelling of his name to "Brian" instead of "Bryan" while in court on Monday after various spellings had been used. CNN is looking to confirm the spelling.


soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. CDA

    "felony hazing resulting in death" are you serious????? What about 1st degree murder? 2nd at the very least. Would be funny except that someone lost their llife.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • tct

      Actually it would be manslaughter, but prosecutors should only charge what they feel can be justified and convicted on.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • brendan

      Murder? Ok you are getting a little out of hand. I think the sentence was fair. It was a terrible tragedy what happened but theres no question it was murder or even manslaughter. He was their teammate. No one wanted him to be seriously hurt or killed. Although people do need to pay consequences for their involvement in the young man's passing. It is a tragic accident through and through

      October 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I cannot believe that someone in their right frame of mind can stand there and hold somebody down, and cannot discern whether they are getting just a little slap around, to make thier skin turn red, or whether thier getting the living crap kicked out of them, causing bleeding and internal injury. Then you turn and reward them by community service?

    October 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rod M. Chicago

    I'm black...and my one word comment is...animals.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spartacus

      Rod, that comment was most courageous and I tip my hat to you for it sir !!!

      October 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Greg

    I'm a white guy and attended FAMU back in the early 90's and was so proud to be there and enjoyed my time in class and walking around campus. I had previously attended the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosea and students there were snobs. At FAMU I was often the only white guy in class and at football games but I enjoyed being treated like everyone else, regardless of my skin color. I hate hearing this happened at FAMU. There was such pride for the band back then. Hope the pride stays.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Roxy

    He wasnt forced!was he also,he didnt do this alone right?why werent the others on trail?thats whats wrong when SOMEONE DIES WE ALWAYS TRY TO BLAME IT ON SOMEONE OR Something than make big deal about.trying to prevent it,but you gotta ask yourself are we actionly making it worse.dont get me wrong my heart goes out to family!look im just saying it was stupid by its all on him and if he learn from al in vild also from thier decision

    October 22, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Wow Roxy. You are blaming the victim. I'm sure the victim didn't intend on letting himself get beaten to death when he signed up for band. He didn't beat himself up. Others did that. They are to blame and YES they should be held accountable. Some of those people beating him HAD to have known things were getting too rough. Yet no one stopped it.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Knucklecheese

      He volunteered for a mild bruising like everyone else got, not a fatal beating. Don't be ridiculous.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Roxy

    Its not about color!come on its about choices and he and al of them made that choice very bad and stuipped but none of them now death was the outcome they al need to make better chioces and realize eny kind of vilolice is stupid and ruen your or anothers life in a split second amen!

    October 22, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Roxy. Learn to write before you start spewing. The victim is dead, so someone has to take responsibility. By your logic, if you get in a car and drive down the freeway, the truck driver who rams into you can go free, because you took the risk of driving your car on the freeway.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Roxy

    Exactly bill!

    October 22, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RCBinTN

    Seems like too light of a sentence. I hope the court doesn't make a joke out of this man's death.

    October 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      It appears to me that the court already did with this sentence.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Hartman

      Way to light. He'll be in trouble again, you can bet on it. Anyone that dumb is destined for it.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Portland tony

    "Crossing the bus" was an accepted initiation rite at the university and had gone on for years. Those who were the assailants in this case were the victims in past initiations. When teachers and administrators looked the other way, it legitimized the ritual. This young man got a fair trial. The school can't make students smart, but can certainly stop stupidity.

    October 22, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      He didn't go to trial.
      He pleaded "no contest."

      October 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • @ Portland Tony

      Do you mean the student in the first paragraph or Brain Jones?

      October 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Replace with "day in court" if you like. 🙂

      October 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      No contest means that you won't contest the charges - it's not a guilty plea. A no contest plea is beneficial to the defendent in later lawsuit trials; it also has some benefit later since technically you aren't convicted (guilty) of a crime This guy should have at least been required to enter a plea of guilty and to stand In front of the court, the victim's family and the world to accept responsibility for his actions.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Well, I blame the university for allowing this rite of passage to continue for years by just ignoring it. Young people go to college to learn how to make better decisions in life! FAMU failed the band members! Enough said!

      October 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • @ Portland Tony

      The rite of passage would be the point, not whether it was a trial or day in court; point is the college and convicted killed a kid.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mari H.

    Somehow this doesn't seem fair.

    October 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mara

    I don't see why Jones wasn't at least charged with negligent homicide. He acted recklessly in a manner that cost a human being his life.

    October 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Galmour60

    My heart goes out to the family who lost a son, brother, grandchild, etc. I will keep u in my prayers.

    October 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BelladonnaCove

    Champion knew what he was getting into...his parents are looking for a fast buck. At a college I'll call Pensacola Christian Collegian, a student had to play strip oker for a hazing-I'll call him Vernon. He also knew what he was getting into. jmo.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • RKT210

      Anyone ever die from playing strip poker? Didn't think so...

      October 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brad

    No one expected this to result in a death. It's easy, after the fact, to say that they all should have known, but realisitcally, none of them expected this to be even remotely life threatening. It's like saying that you should expect to kill someone when you don't wash your car more than once a month.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Leigh2

    Well, I feel sad for that young man's parents. Looks like they are going to see no real justice done where their son is concerned.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rattler05

      I don't. They failed their son by not teaching him right from wrong.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
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