The first of a dozen band members to be sentenced in last year's brutal hazing death of a Florida A&M University drum major was sentenced Monday.
First FAMU band member sentenced in brutal hazing death
Brian Jones, 23, changed his not guilty plea to no contest on Oct. 9 for a third-degree felony charge in the death of Robert Champion, Orlando's WESH news is reporting.
Judge Marc Lubet sentenced Jones to six months community control, which puts strict limits on his freedom and requires frequent check-ins with probation officials. Following that, he'll serve two more years of supervised probation and 200 hours of community service. He also will have to stay in school or work full-time, have no contact with the Champions or the other band members as well as take a four-hour hazing course.
The 23-year-old from Parrish, Fla., had entered a no-contest plea Oct. 9 to a third-degree felony after initially pleading not guilty.
Judge Marc Lubet said Jones' role in the hazing death of Robert Champion was relatively minimal and that Jones did not beat or hit Champion.
But his mother called the hazing an act of murder.
"You will always know your part in what you've done," Pamela Champion said, speaking toward Jones as she held a framed photograph of her son.
Jones faced up to five years in prison and a possible $5,000 fine.
Champion, 26, died Nov. 19 after being beaten by fellow band members during a hazing ritual aboard a chartered bus parked outside an Orlando hotel after the Orlando Classic football game.
The Orlando Sentinel says that Champion was attempting to make his way from the front of the bus to the back as band members assaulted him with punches, kicks and objects ranging from drumsticks to straps and an orange traffic cone.
The hazing ritual is known as "crossing Bus C."
Champion's family is expected to speak in front of the Orange County Courthouse after the sentencing.
Eleven other defendants have trials slated to begin in March 2013, The Famuan reported.