Caleb Jackson, 24, has entered a no-contest plea to charges of manslaughter in the case of the hazing death of Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion, the Huffington Post reports. That choice — which does not admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him — came with an agreement to testify against the remaining 11 defendants. The judge on the case said Jackson’s plea could mean he will “come out pretty good.”
Jackson will be sentenced in the fall after giving testimony to prosecutors about what happened to drum major Robert Champion as he walked down a gauntlet of other band members who beat him with fists and mallets on a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel in November 2011. Champion collapsed and later died.
Circuit Judge Marc Lubet warned Jackson that he could face a maximum of 35 years in prison if he changed his mind and didn’t cooperate.
“If you fully cooperate and continue to work with the state … you may very well come out pretty good,” Lubet said. “If you don’t, you may very well come out really bad.”
Jackson answered only “yes, sir” and “no, sir” to a series of questions from the judge about whether he was entering the plea without coercion and whether he was aware he will be able to appeal any sentence …
Read more at the Huffington Post.