FAMU band member agrees to no contest plea in hazing death

ORLANDO, Fla., May 31 (UPI) -- A Florida A&M University marching band member agreed Friday to plead no contest to a felony hazing charge in the death of drum major Robert Champion.

In return, prosecutors will drop a manslaughter charge against Shawn Turner, 27, who contended he tried to look out for Champion and was not one of those who took part in the hazing, will likely receive a community-service sentence, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Turner will not admit guilty but acknowledge authorities have enough evidence to obtain a conviction.


Assistant state attorney Nicole Pegues said that would be consistent with the punishment meted out to other band members who admitted being present at the Nov. 19, 2011 hazing that killed Champion, the newspaper said.

Another defendant, drum major Rikki Wills, pleaded no contest last month and was expected to be sentenced in circuit court in Orlando Friday.

Champion endured 300 blows from band members while on a bus after the band performed at a football game. The hazing was known among FAMU band members as "Crossing Bus C."

Former band members Ryan Dean and Brian Jones received community-service sentences last year. Another band member er, Caleb Jackson, is expected to receive prison time when he is sentenced later this year, the Sentinel said.


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