Former FAMU band member gets 51 weeks in jail in hazing death case

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ORLANDO, Fla. - A former Florida A&M band member was sentenced to jail time for his role in the hazing death of a drum major.
 
Prosecutors said Jessie Baskin was the "most enthusiastic participant," in Robert Champion's death.
 
Baskin faced nine years when sentenced Friday for participating in the beating death of Robert Champion in November 2011 during a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel. Judge Marc Lubet gave Baskin 51 weeks in jail.

Lubet said as he sentenced Baskin that he didn't want to destroy Baskin's life. But, he said, Baskin did have to pay something for what he did. Baskin had pleaded no contest to manslaughter.

Baskin broke into tears several times Friday afternoon as he listened to family members and friends beg the judge to be lenient.

Baskin's grandfather spoke for his family following the sentencing, and complained that several hazing defendants are facing no time behind bars.
 
"This case is as raggedy as a mango seed, it was not based on evidence. Kids couldn't see in the dark, and you're going to build a case against the ones who did it?" said Billy Baskin.
 
Jessie Baskin will face five years of probation when he gets out of jail. He will also have to pay a $3,000 fine and do 300 hours of community service.
 
Robert Champion's family wanted Baskin to go to state prison for nine years.
 
Champion was beaten to death during the hazing incident on a band bus outside an International Drive hotel on Florida Classic weekend in 2011.
 
Prosecutor Jeff Ashton described the 22-year-old Baskin as being "most-consistently identified as the most enthusiastic" band member in the hazing ritual.
 
Champion's mother said on the stand Friday that she feels no hatred toward Baskin or his family, but her family wanted Baskin to pay for helping to kill her son.
 
"We're going to fight to rid our schools, our universities, our colleges of this type of behavior. It needs to stop. Enough is enough," said Robert Champion Sr., father of Robert Champion.
 
Some defendants who faced similar sentences on first time offenses were able to go into work release so it is possible Baskin won't serve the entire sentence.