Defendants in FAMU 2011 Hazing Death Case Now Facing Stricter Manslaughter Charges
Stiffer charges of manslaughter have now been filed by the new prosecutor against the 13 defendants accused of participating in the 2011 death of 26 year old Florida A & M University ("FAMU") marching band member Robert Champion. According to authorities, Champion died of multiple blows from many individuals during a hazing ritual aboard a charter bus parked in a hotel parking lot after an annual rivalry football game between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman in 2011. In addition, prosecutors have also charged two more individuals with manslaughter, who are awaiting arrests.
The manslaughter charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison in Florida. A status hearing on the case has been set for August 2013. It is not unusual for prosecutors to charge a defendant with a lesser charge while investigations are ongoing and later change the charge to a stricter one when more evidence has been found to justifying doing so.
Two other former band members were not among the 13 charged. Their cases were resolved last year. Both defendants pleaded no-contest to third degree felony hazing and have since been sentenced. One former FAMU band member received six months of community control, two years probation and 200 hours of community service. The other band member received four years of probation and 200 hours of community service. The FAMU has since taken measures to fight hazing and has suspended the band. The University is also looking for a new director of the band. Champion's parents previously rejected an offer to settlement with the University for $300,000 in a civil wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Champions against the University.
Manslaughter differs from murder in that it is the result of killing someone without premeditation or malice as a result of an accidental death. In Florida, manslaughter is considered a second degree felony. A manslaughter conviction carries up to 15 years in state prison.
Florida Manslaughter Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know have been charged with a manslaughter offense in Florida, you should hire a Florida manslaughter criminal defense attorney immediately. At Imhoff & Associates, PC-Criminal Attorneys, we have years of experience diligently representing clients charged with manslaughter. Your Imhoff criminal defense attorney will review all the details of your case to make sure that the all the facts are uncovered so that we can build a strong defense on your behalf. Your Imhoff attorney will argue such defenses as excusable homicide (result of an accident or in the heat of passion), justifiable homicide or self-defense (resisting an attempt by someone to kill or harm you, defending yourself) or defense of others in order to get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, get you alternative sentencing or get your charges dropped, depending on your specific case details.