Manslaughter counts, trial delay in Robert Champion FAMU hazing case

ORLANDO - Defendants in the hazing death of a Florida A&M drum major have been given the stiffer charge of manslaughter by the new prosecutor and a longer wait until their case goes to trial.

Recently sworn-in State Attorney Jeff Ashton added the second-degree felony count Monday for each of 10 band members who were charged last May with third-degree felony hazing in the 2011 death of 26-year-old Robert Champion.

Prosecutors also charged two new defendants with manslaughter Monday. The manslaughter charge announced during a status hearing carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

The move could put pressure on the 12 defendants to seek plea bargains before the case makes it to a courtroom.
 

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