Band Member Gets 4 Years in FAMU Hazing Death - NBC 6 South Florida

Band Member Gets 4 Years in FAMU Hazing Death

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    Band Member Gets 4 Years in FAMU Hazing Death
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    The Florida A&M University marching band performs

    A former Florida A&M University band member was sentenced Friday to four years in prison for his role in a drum major's hazing death.

    Judge Marc Lubet announced the sentence for 26-year-old Caleb Jackson, who pleaded no contest to manslaughter and hazing in April 2013 for his part in the death of Robert Champion, of Decatur, Georgia. Jackson faced 35 years in prison. He'll get credit for more than two years he's already served.

    With his arrest in Champion's case, a judge found that he violated probation and sentenced him to four years in an unrelated battery case.

    Champion collapsed and died in November 2011 after being pummeled by other members of FAMU's famed Marching 100 band with fists and instruments during a brutal ritual known as "crossing Bus C" while aboard a parked bus after a football game.

    The incident exposed a culture of hazing within the band, which was suspended for more than a year. It also led to the resignation of the former longtime band director Julian White and contributed to the resignation of university president James Ammons in 2012.

    That same year, a report from the Florida Board of Governors inspector general's office concluded that the university lacked internal controls to prevent or detect hazing. It cited a lack of communication among top university officials, the police department and the office responsible for disciplining students.

    Fifteen former band members were charged in Champion's death. Purported ringleader Dante Martin was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison in January. Jessie Baskin served just shy of a year in county jail after entering a no-contest plea to manslaughter. Most of the others were sentenced to community service and probation.

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