Thursday, February 22, 2018
Public safety

Man wanted in FAMU hazing case turns himself in to Hillsborough authorities

ORLANDO — A Florida A&M University student charged in the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion also was charged with hazing a clarinetist so severely that her leg was broken last fall.

Aaron Golson, 19, was charged in December in the beating of Bria Hunter, which occurred less than a month before Champion was pummeled to death on a charter bus after the Florida Classic football game in Orlando on Nov. 19.

A spokeswoman for band director Julian White's attorney said that Golson had been kicked out of the band and should not have been on the bus the night Champion died.

Golson was among eight of the 13 suspects in custody Thursday in the Champion case.

They included Brian Jones, 23, of Parrish, who turned himself in Wednesday night at the Orient Road Jail in Tampa.

Two of the suspects — Shawn Turner, 26, and Rikki Wills, 24 — were drum majors for the famed Marching 100 band.

Orange-Osceola State Attorney Lawson Lamar said 11 of the 13 suspects face felony charges in Champion's beating death.

Another of those arrested, Caleb Jackson, 23, a percussionist in the band, is on probation for an aggravated battery that occurred on the campus of Tallahassee Community College in 2009.

Orlando attorney Alisia Adamson called Jones, 23, "a good kid" who was wrongly implicated in Champion's death.

Jones was a drummer in the band last fall and plays drums on Sundays at St. Mary's Missionary Baptist Church in Parrish, she said.

He was a third-year student majoring in criminal justice when he dropped out of FAMU because of financial reasons after the Florida Classic. He was set to enter the military on June 12 with plans to be a combat medic.

"Obviously, everyone is hurt by the situation," Adamson said. "Everyone is sad Mr. Champion passed away. Mr. Jones' family obviously feels the wrong person (has been charged)."

Two other suspects who surrendered were Jessie Baskin, 20, and Benjamin McNamee, 21. They were released on $15,000 bail each.

Harold Finley, 20, surrendered in Palm Beach County. All are charged with felony hazing resulting in death or serious bodily injury.

Jackson and Wills were arrested Wednesday afternoon and booked into the Leon County Jail, charged with felony hazing resulting in death. Jackson, who was on probation for battery, was denied bond.

McNamee, a baritone player, had previously been suspended from the band for conduct unbecoming of a band member following an incident last spring at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, university records show.

McNamee was exonerated and allowed to rejoin, said a spokeswoman for White's attorney.

According to FDLE, Baskin and McNamee surrendered to authorities at the Miami-Dade County Jail. Turner and Golson, who listed a home address in Stone Mountain, Ga., turned themselves in at the Gadsden County Jail.

FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said state agents have been in contact with the families or attorneys for the three other felony defendants who remain at large. She said two of those defendants live out of state — one in Georgia, the other in Delaware.

Comments
Dunedin man serious injured in motorcycle crash

Dunedin man serious injured in motorcycle crash

OLDSMAR — A Dunedin man was seriously injured in a high-speed motorcycle crash early Thursday morning.According to deputies, 37-year-old Justin Kaune was riding southbound on Bayside Boulevard around 2:30 a.m. when he struck a cement median and lost ...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Police seek machete-wielding suspect in Plant City robbery

Police seek machete-wielding suspect in Plant City robbery

PLANT CITY — Police are searching for a suspect who, armed with a machete, robbed a Plant City convenience store on Tuesday.Police say the suspect arrived at the Circle K convenience store station at 1514 Alexander St. S around 2:50 a.m. and demanded...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Clearwater police chief forms special unit for repeat offenders

Clearwater police chief forms special unit for repeat offenders

CLEARWATER — Police Chief Dan Slaughter started this month a new unit to target repeat offenders and nuisance properties.The Special Enforcement Unit consists of six police officers and a sergeant from within the department to focus on the small grou...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hillsborough County inmate dies after becoming unresponsive at Falkenburg Road jail

Hillsborough County inmate dies after becoming unresponsive at Falkenburg Road jail

TAMPA — A 54-year-old inmate died Saturday after she became unresponsive at the Falkenburg Road Jail, authorities said.Tammie Castro was alert in the jail infirmary when jail officials called for paramedics at 3:34 a.m. but became unresponsive within...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Amy Poehler, ‘Parks and Rec’ team in Twitter tussle with NRA and its ‘pro-slaughter agenda’

Amy Poehler, ‘Parks and Rec’ team in Twitter tussle with NRA and its ‘pro-slaughter agenda’

The NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation" was a show about the power of community and civic engagement that was created and run by outspoken gun lobby critic Michael Schur.It’s arguably not the best show for the National Rifle Association to reference on...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Man rescued after boat swept away, capsizes in Little Manatee River

Man rescued after boat swept away, capsizes in Little Manatee River

RUSKIN — A man was rescued early Thursday morning after Hillsborough County deputies say his boat was swept away by a strong tide and capsized in the Little Manatee River.According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, a 911 call was received ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Polk deputies seek Pinellas man accused of pushing woman from speeding car

Polk deputies seek Pinellas man accused of pushing woman from speeding car

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has issued an arrest warrant for a Pinellas County man accused of beating and pushing a woman from a speeding car.On Feb. 17, Remond Brown II, 26, was traveling with the woman in a black Honda Accord near Highway 60 E...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Two male students arrested for threatening their schools; no weapons found

Two male students arrested for threatening their schools; no weapons found

Two male students were arrested Wednesday on charges that they made threats against their respective schools, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The threats were not credible and neither took steps to carry out those threats, deput...
Published: 02/21/18
Former Florida Rep. Robert Wallace jumps from Tampa overpass

Former Florida Rep. Robert Wallace jumps from Tampa overpass

TAMPA — Former Florida state Rep. Robert Wallace ended his life Monday night by jumping from a Dale Mabry Highway overpass, records show. He was 65.At least one witness saw Wallace plunge 40 to 50 feet onto Gunn Highway, according to a Hillsborough C...
Published: 02/21/18

Two male students arrested for threatening their schools; no weapons found

Two male students were arrested Wednesday on charges that they made threats against their respective schools, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The threats were not credible and neither took steps to carry out those threats, deput...
Published: 02/21/18