ORLANDO, Fla. - The first of a dozen defendants charged in last year's hazing death of a Florida A&M drum major is sentenced to probation and community service on a third-degree felony charge.
Judge Marc Lubet sentenced Brian Jones on Monday to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service. The sentence includes six months of community control, which puts strict limits on his freedom and requires frequent check-ins with probation officials.
The 23-year-old from Parrish entered a no-contest plea Oct. 9 after initially pleading not guilty.
In agreeing to the plea deal, Lubet said Jones' role in the hazing death of Robert Champion was relatively minimal. Lubet said Jones did not beat or hit Champion.
Jones gave an emotional testimony at his sentencing hearing on Monday.
"I want the world to know I'm sorry for the death of Robert Champion," Jones said. "I stand here in front of you still in shock."
Champion died in November after being beaten by fellow band members during a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel after a football game.
Champion's parents spoke to Jones at the sentencing, as Pam Champion brought up a picture of her son.
"The pain and agony, the torment, I express because of you," she said.
Jones' mother also spoke to the court saying that Jones had nothing to do with Champion's death, which is what she said her son told her the night Champion died.
"With all that I am, I'm convinced my son has told me the truth," said Dr. Jacqueline Jones.
Eleven other FAMU band members face felony hazing charges. Another band member faces a misdemeanor count for hazing.
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