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News Clips 07/03/2013
Judge: No deal in limiting sentence of FAMU hazing defendant
Source: Orlando Sentinel, 07/02/13
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By Stephen Hudak
The Orange County judge presiding over the FAMU hazing cases was unwilling Tuesday to cap at three years a possible prison sentence for an ex-band member charged with felony hazing and manslaughter in the death of Marching 100 drum major Robert Champion.
Circuit Judge Marc Lubet said he wanted to hear from Champion's parents, Pamela and Robert Champion, before weighing a request to limit punishment facing Jessie Baskin, 22, of Miami, whom prosecutors have categorized as a "beater" in the fatal hazing that occurred Nov. 19, 2011, in Orlando.
Baskin, who has pleaded not guilty, could be sentenced to 21 years in prison if convicted of all charges and sentenced to the maximum for each offense.
Baskin, identified by Champion's fellow drum majors as someone who kicked Champion during the hazing, is among nine remaining defendants in the scandal. Six others have pleaded no contest to the charges and all but one received sentences of probation and community service.
The sixth, Caleb Jackson, also classified as a beater, has not yet been sentenced but is expected to receive a three-year prison term.
Prosecutors put most of the hazing participants in one of three categories — beaters, helpers or victims. Drum majors Jonathan Boyce, Shawn Turner and Rikki Wills were considered "helpers" as they tried to shield Champion from blows and pushed or pulled him through the ritual.
Florida's hazing statute does not make such distinctions. Participating in hazing is illegal in Florida.
Lubet arranged another plea conference for July 11 when the Champions could attend in person or by phone.