Trial for 4 remaining defendants in FAMU hazing-death case rescheduled for Oct. 27

bug


We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Subjects:

Places:

 


ORLANDO, Florida — The Orlando trial of the four remaining defendants charged in the hazing death of a Florida A&M University drum major was postponed until October on Tuesday.

Defense attorneys and State Attorney Jeff Ashton agreed to reschedule the start of the trial to Oct. 27, and they expect it to last less than two weeks.

The trial had originally been set for later this month, but attorneys had scheduling conflicts, and Circuit Judge Renee Roche had been under the impression that trial was supposed to start in early October.

In the meantime, defense attorneys plan to file motions limiting certain evidence, challenging the constitutionality of Florida's hazing law and requesting that the cases be dismissed, said Craig Brown, an attorney for defendant Aaron Golson.

All four defendants will be tried simultaneously.

"We're all in it together at this point," Brown said. "We're ready."

Defense Attorney Michael Dicembre said trying all four defendants at the same time adds to the trial's length but doesn't necessarily make it more complicated.

"You have witnesses on the stand that the state is going to put on and you're going to have four separate attorneys cross-examining those witnesses, and vice versa with defense witnesses," said Dicembre, who is representing defendant Benjamin McNamee. "It makes everything take longer than it should."

Fifteen former band members were charged with manslaughter and hazing in the November 2011 death of Robert Champion of Decatur, Georgia. Eight accepted plea deals of community service and probation for what prosecutors called minor roles. The state dropped charges against one former defendant, and another has pleaded but has not yet been sentenced.

Jessie Baskin pleaded no contest to manslaughter and was sentenced to a year in jail in March.

Ashton, who is trying the cases personally, said he expects to call as witnesses some of those former defendants.

"We're ready to go," said Ashton, who gained international attention as one of the prosecutors in the Casey Anthony trial.

All content copyright ©2014 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Click here to read our privacy policy.