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. Justice for All

    There was no justice in case.

    The fact that it was a hazing should not mediate the punishment. Their actions resulted in the death of a person. To say that if such an act is done in an outdated school ritual, is to say that life loses its value in different context. The prosecutors dropped the ball.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      I would disagree....destroying another life accomplishes nothing.,...this was a very appropriate outcome.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      What you are saying contradicts the legal system... why are there various degrees of murder and manslaughter? Are you saying that, for example, somebody who dozes off while driving and causes a fatal accident should be held to the same punishment as somebody who tortures then murders a person?

      October 22, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thugvon

      Bottom line, The so called victim participated in his own death. Could have refused, we all have choices to make in life.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      And frankly, ANYONE that has ever been involved in this sort of hazing should feel ashamed that they were part of this legacy of pointless torture. The level of immaturity and stupidity required is ridiculous. The pressure for people to subject themselves to it is enormous. The sad thing is that it was for something "respectable", not just a dumb fraternity initiation.

      BTW, Thugvon is a fool.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christine Bennett

      Oooh. Kill a schoolmate, get a little community time. I LOVE this country!

      October 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. adam

    cmon guys does the slap on the wrist really sirprise ypu

    October 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Does it sirprise ypu?

    October 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe Plumber

    Floria. The brain trust of the nation.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michelle

    This event is very tragic, but I am finding it hard to grasp why a person in his late 20s would find the need to participate in such a ritual, especially when he had witnessed these events previously. He was not the typical college-aged student. You would think he would have been the voice of reasoning among the band members. You would think he would have been actively working with band leaders to stomp it out, not allegedly begging to participate when he was supposedly so against hazing. It is terrible that band leaders allegedly allowed activities like this to happen on a regular basis. Why did they possibly lose their perspective on what educators are entrusted to do for each and every student? A family is grieving, students' lives are ruined with criminal records, lawsuits (against any and everyone) are being filed for personal wealth with the pretense of wanting justice for the victim (money never stops the hurting or pain associated with a tragic death, and it doesn't mention anywhere that the parents are going to use it to decrease the likelihood for another family to have a similar experience), and a life is lost. I am against suing when a person willingly risked his life. He knew right and wrong, and it has been reported that he was allegedly against hazing. The students involved are victims of a system that had no boundaries, and they were allowed to run wildly without consequence. The students did what is normal by keep getting more extreme with each additional event. I can't blame anyone, but I know that the adults in charge failed these kids tremendously, and I wish there was a way to charge them for breeding a culture where violence is accepted and defined as normal expectations for too many band members. These adults only losing their job is just dead wrong!

    October 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      They all failed each other. They were all adults on that bus, they just seemed to forget that fact. Every person on that bus and every person that new about these hazing rituals and did nothing about it share a responsibility for a young man's death. They will have to live with it for the rest of their lives, I at least hope they ultimately become better people, because there is no other possible good that can come out of this incredibly stupid tragedy.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      Michelle, I would agree with your assessment that this was a tragedy. That's about it. That goes for everyone else as well, as of the time posted for this comment.

      ALL OF YOU are missing something very critical in your assessments of justice, and the overall situation. ALL OF THE BAND were ADULTS! We're about Florida A & M University. These "students" are all adults. There may be a few that aren't, but doubtful. The point is that they are all adults. You speak of them as "kids", and that the " band leaders allegedly allowed activities"..,etc.. All of you act like these "students" are pubescent "kids" that are raging hormones looking for somewhere to explode. These aren't "kids". These are "adults"! What could "band leaders" do to stop band members from engaging in any activity they wanted as long as there was no impact to school assets? What can you do to stop any adult from being stupid? Call their "mommy"? You can't prevent an adult from being and acting stupid. All of you know that, because all of us have done so at least once in our adult life. Just ask any married or divorced couple. If the band members decided to have a rumble (gang fight) among themselves, whose going to stop these adults?

      Given my above perspective, I don't feel the band member should have been charged, or convicted of anything. Obviously, not having to be penalized in any way. I would agree with the lawsuits only against those adults who participated in the actual hazing, and save the school(s) and it's employees harmless, thereby excluded, unless it could be shown that overt actions by the excluded parties to facilitate, or participate, in the subject "activities".

      October 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    No prison for killing a black person? Come on now, where's the justice for this killing? Send this boy to prison for years, after all, a great African American was murdered.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. al

    what is a 26 year old doing in a non-academic college? i am sure his student loans will be pushed on to taxpayers and even if this tragedy did not occur, that they would still be since who would hire a 27 year old graduate whose signature accomplishment was running around in a funny uniform?

    October 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      sounds like a personal problem to me. Gotta be pretty low with yourself to need to attack a dead student.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Penguin

    Peer pressure and mob chaos are very strong psychological forces. It doesn't surprise me in the least that one allows himself to be beat to a pulp

    October 22, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. btcratell

    Rise of the planet of apes is what this is.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. truthis sad

    This is the fault of hundreds of years of white oppression. They are good boys and din do nuffins

    October 22, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mary withers

    this is sad, we send our kids to school to get an education not to die, i pray for his family

    October 22, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rattler05

      Its actually quite stupid. For a grown man to knowingly participate in an activity that was illegal and die as result of it.

      October 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bob Knippel

    The "victim" participated, rather than telling the hazers to stuff their BS where the sun doesn't shine. Initiation rites are meaningless unless you give them meaning.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      The band was to be a major part of his college life, there is incredible pressure to do what it takes to be accepted as a member. The guilt lies with all those that pressured him into it and then beat him. The shame is that he wanted it so bad that he was willing to accept it.

      some students go through similar things just to be in a fraternity which absolutely boggles my mind and that is just a social club. The real crime hear is that there are kids on band scholarships who would be afraid of losing that if they refused to do what seemed necessary to become a full member of the band.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cuervo Jones

    i'm thinking Jones will never make it w/o a trip to the joint.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Albro

    If it had been a "Caucasian-American" holding that black kid while he was brutalized, the world would be screaming for the death penalty. Since it was an oppressed brutha, he gets to do community service. Now THAT'S racial equality!!!!

    October 22, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Klaas Jan

    Omg is that Omar Epps?

    October 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
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