ORLANDO, FL. (AP) - The final three defendants convicted in the 2011 hazing death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion have been sentenced to 10 years' supervised probation.
Judge Renee Roche announced the sentence Friday for 24-year-old Benjamin McNamee, 22-year-old Aaron Golson and 28-year-old Darryl Cearnel at the conclusion of a daylong hearing that included testimony from the three men, character witnesses, and from Champion's parents.
Roche said their probation could be terminated early if they demonstrate a willingness through community outreach to help eradicate hazing.
The men had faced up to 20 years in prison after being convicted in April of manslaughter and hazing in the November 2011 death of Champion, who was from Decatur, Georgia. Prosecutors were seeking a minimum sentence of nine years.
Roche said she chose to deviate from that recommendation because of evidence introduced at trial that the 26-year-old Champion willingly participated in the hazing ritual.