Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Ex-FAMU band member gets 1 year in hazing death

ORLANDO — A former Florida A&M band member on Friday became the first person to be sentenced to jail time for his role in the hazing death of a drum major.

Jessie Baskin, 22, of Miami was sentenced to 51 weeks in the county jail, five years of probation and 300 hours of community service after beating death of 26-year-old Robert Champion in November 2011.

In a hearing that lasted nearly three hours, several character witnesses were called from Baskin's family, including his parents.

Baskin was emotional throughout, several times wiping away tears, and other times trembling in his seat.

"I've sentenced a hundred people to life in prison. This is one of the hardest sentences that I've ever had to deal with," Judge Marc Lubet said. "No matter what I do, I can't bring Robert Champion back."

Champion died during a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel. Champion collapsed after prosecutors say band members beat him with fists and instruments.

Baskin had faced nine years in prison after pleading no contest to manslaughter in November.

Fifteen former band members were charged with manslaughter and hazing in Champion's death. Seven have been sentenced to combinations of probation and community service.

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