ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The first of a dozen defendants charged in the hazing death of a Florida A&M drum major entered a plea of no contest Tuesday to third-degree felony hazing.

A judge didn't impose a conviction on 23-year-old Brian Jones, of Parrish, Fla., who switched his plea from not guilty. Jones isn't admitting or denying guilt in the no-contest plea.

Jones refused to comment after the hearing in an Orlando courtroom. Sentencing is set for Oct. 22.

In agreeing to the deal, Circuit Judge Marc Lubet said Jones' role in the hazing death of Robert Champion was relatively minimal.

"It is my understanding … that there is no testimony that he at any time beat or hit Mr. Champion. Is that correct? Lubet asked Jones' attorney, Alisia Adamson.

"That is correct," she said.

Champion died last November after being beaten by fellow band members during a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel following a football game. An autopsy concluded Champion suffered blunt trauma blows to his body and died from shock caused by severe bleeding.

Eleven other FAMU band members face felony hazing charges, while another band member faces a misdemeanor count for hazing. Their trials are set for early next year.

Champion's death revealed a culture of hazing at Florida A&M and other schools. It also contributed to the abrupt retirement of the university's president in July, the resignation of the band's longtime director and the suspension of the famed March 100 until next year.


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One thought on “FAMU Hazing Defendant Enters No Contest Plea

  1. PinkPoodle on said:

    Sad! Sad!

    It’s a pity Fraternities and Sororities can’t break the habit of hazing members into their Organizations. If you were hazed into an Organization, break the chain; don’t haze your soon-to-be Fraternity brothers or Sorority sisters. I have ascertained that being initiated into a Street Gang and a Fraternity or Sorority these days are the same. The only difference is: the folks joining the Fraternities and Sororities are our future educated leaders.

    When I pledged my Sorority, there wasn’t any hazing. There were some scary moments but, thank God my Big Sisters were humane to the ladies on our line. I never hazed anyone and would admonished the “Big Sisters” who appeared to be getting out of hand when it came to the new ladies on the line.

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