Three former Florida A&M University marching-band members who were convicted of manslaughter in the 2011 hazing death of drum major Robert Champion were sentenced Friday in Orlando, Fla., to 10 years’ supervised probation, reports the Associated Press. They were convicted in April.
In announcing the sentences for Benjamin McNamee, 24, Aaron Golson, 22, and Darryl Cearnel, 28, Circuit Court Judge Renee Roche said their probation can be terminated early if they demonstrate a willingness through community outreach to help eradicate hazing, the report says.
They had faced up to 20 years in prison after being convicted in April of manslaughter and hazing in the November 2011 death of Champion, who was from Decatur, Georgia. Prosecutors were seeking a minimum sentence of nine years.
But Roche announced that she decided against the prosecutor’s recommendation because evidence introduced at the trial showed that Champion, 26, had willingly participated in the hazing ritual.
Champion reportedly collapsed and died after being pummeled by other members of FAMU’s famed Marching 100 band with fists and instruments during a brutal ritual known as “crossing Bus C,” writes the news outlet. The ritual occurred aboard a parked bus after a football game.
“Having done this for 20 years, there are a few cases that will stay with you. And this is one of them,” Roche said before imposing sentence, writes the AP.
Read more at the Huffington Post.