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. Cheryl

    A student was beat to death and racist Americans want to BE RACIST .... very intelligent!

    October 23, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Cheryl is the typical little race baiting lib. When it can't directly blame the evil white man it points to a made up boogie man. Pathetic. I'm sure Cheryl will be screaming RACISM at the top of its lungs on the morning of November 7, 2012.


      October 23, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. Debby

    Only in America can you be responsible for the death of another and get away with it. These thug kids (and adults as well) are terrorizing others "for fun" and they laugh at the courts. This sentence is a joke like so many others. So he has to ask permission to go away, big deal. Many kids do – but from their parents. I'm sick of these judges letting people get away with murder.

    October 23, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • lol

      Really? Only in America? Been to Norway recently? Mass murderers there are sent to camp. The entire world sucks, not just where you live.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Elle

      Oh is that so? Here I thought there were civilians massacred by the thousands in the Congo, that Haiti, Jordan and a number of other countries have laws on the books allowing for honor killings of women and that the Mexican Drug cartels had such a hold on the government that most of their crimes go uninvestigated and unpunished. But it must have been my imagination- clearly, it's only in the US.

      Granted, this sentence is a joke and I can't believe that they killed someone and got probation. But lets be accurate in our outrage- baseless ignorant claims don't help anyone, and they make you look completely uneducated about current events.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • DTOM

      Dont forget Mexico.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Albro

      Not only is the guilty "brutha" sentenced to COMMUNITY SERVICE, but then we have Cheryl, above you there, blaming the BIG BAD TERRIBLE RACISTS!!!

      October 23, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • j

      I hope this kid doesn't have any heated family members. This kid will surely end up dead as a result of his actions and getting off as easy as he did. I know if my brothers murderer walked free like this I would take it upon myself to find justice.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Shuffler

      Had the 26 year old been raised properly he would have chosen not to participate in such childish behavior. He was the ultimate guilty party for chosing to do so.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pam

      I agree with Debby for sure.. too many young people deal with hazing just to be accepted by their tormentors... don't expect any extra mercy from me Brian....unfortunately, in Florida this is what one can expect...they don't exactly value human life...

      October 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • c

      terrorizing? usually when I think of someone being terrorized, i don't picture them voluntarily going to be terrorized. And J, thanks for showing all naive people why violence is such a big problem in your community. You do that, and his family is coming after you, and then your family goes after then etc....all because you lil bro thought it would be cool to get jmped into a group and participated voluntarily.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • tamars

      you're statement "only in america" is inaccurate. bashir assad (syria), hizbollah (lebanon & gaza) are killing thousands without even going to court, never mind held accountable.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • norman

      come on, dummy-the guy CHOSE to be beaten up-he was a grown man-he chose it and he died from it-sad, but stupid...

      October 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jamie

    Band will never be cool geeks. Accept you have "American Pie".

    October 23, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mateo

    Well I'm sure they have all learned their lesson!

    October 23, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. snowdogg

    So, Bubba is pacing his cell waiting for a new "mate" – all in vain?

    October 23, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. astroboi

    Can you imagine what it would be like if the members of a symphony orchestra behaved like this marching band? Just picture it.

    October 23, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rattler05

    Robert was a grown man who knowingly participated in an illegal unsanctioned event. Unfortunately he died for his lapse in judgement. I think the ruling was fair. We cannot pinpoint the specific punch, kick or blow that triggered the cause of his death. School should not be held responsible for his involvement in an activity that was not approved by the band or its governing bodies.

    The simple fact that we are making Robert look a martyr is crazy. I question the motives of his parents at this point in their desperate attempt to cash out on the shortcoming of their late son. I was in the band for 3 years and each year we signed an acknowledgement form stating that we know what hazing is in all its forms and we understand the consequences for them. I do not like how the band has been portrayed as villains for poor decisions made by young adults who knowingly violate rules.

    October 23, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Tallygirl

      You are absolutely correct, these were adults making stupid decisions.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mitzi_in_Michigan

      Hey Rattler06,

      About that "hazing form" that you signed, I wonder did you told your parents the form before and/or after you signed it. I also wonder, since you imply that Chapman’s have more of a financial motive to punish FAMU instead of seeing this ridiculous tradition stopped and seeking justice for their son, that if situation had been reversed and it was you and your parents were in the place of the Chapman’s would be making such a cavalier and insensitive statement about the Chapman's intentions.

      There is an old saying that states we never quite know what someone else is experiencing or feeling unless we walk in their shoes – to me it sounds like you haven’t had a child who has died of hazing.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • norman

      Mitzi-let us guess-liberal huh? no blame for your actions, huh? wont work and teh judge isnt havign it-he chose to be beaten and he paid for his poor choice

      October 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rattler05

      Miziti Mich
      1.) The last time I checked I was an adult when I went to college. I never needed to consult my parents about signing a form.
      2.) I thought his parents were genuine in their pursuit of justice. But when they tried to spin the situation as a hate crime by outing their late son. I lost all respect for them. Their true intentions showed.
      3.) His last name is Champion.

      October 24, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. Scott B

    Some rare sanity from the court system.

    October 23, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. Frank Tillery

    State your point and leave your own racist opinions to yourself. True, being picky about how is name is spelled does not compare to the loss of a life, but your "welfare" statement is obviously racist and, in this case, irrelavant.

    October 23, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. ray

    not surprised by this verdict at all

    October 23, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. Cindy

    Another sad and sick story. The guilty goes free. I hope the victim's family sues all parties. What a waste.

    October 23, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • norman

      Cindy, actually, the guilty in this case died...

      October 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jon

    The kid knowingly decided to partisipate in the hazing activity that he knew the school did not apporve of, and because he made this choice he died. This is like blaming McDonalds because the coffee was hot and it burned you when you spilled it while you were attempting to drink it while you drove.

    October 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shuffler

      You can bet this 26 year old was on the other side of the fence in prior hazings.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. c

    Bottom line is simple: If you accept being hazed, you accept its place in the group you are paying to join and you accept that you will be the one hazing future inductees. If some lowlive dies while getting jumped into a gang I will not mourn his passing. Nor will I treat the other members as harshly as if they had killed some random store owner or uninvolved citizen walking down the street. "live by the gun die by the gun". Tragic yes, but no reason to label anyone a murderer.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rattler05


      October 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. pw1121

    Whew! I'm glad to see that being white in America still has it's advantages.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. LOL Sick Priorities

    Would just like to point out this guy KILLED SOMEONE and recieved the same punishment I did for less than .5 grams of pot.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • norman

      wrong of course-the guy killed himself

      October 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
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