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Four years given Caleb Jackson in Robert Champion hazing death

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Caleb Jackson, 26, was sentenced to four years in prison: He could have received 15 years.

excerpt

Judge Marc Lubet said that he chose not to give Jackson a more lengthy prison term because he said evidence showed that Champion was a willing participant in the incident.

Champion’s parents, Robert Sr. and Pam Champion, both testified Friday and expressed disappointment with the outcome of the prosecutions over the past four years, which they said didn’t collectively send a clear message to end hazing.

“Yes, Mr. Jackson, you killed my son,” she said looking at Jackson. “You will never get out from under the fact that you killed my son.”

Fifteen former band members were charged in Champion’s death. Purported ringleader Dante Martin was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison in January. Jessie Baskin served just shy of a year in county jail after entering a no-contest plea to manslaughter. Most of the others were sentenced to community service and probation.

Jackson’s sentencing now ends all prosecution in the case.

Champion collapsed and died in November 2011 after being pummeled by other members of FAMU’s famed Marching 100 band with fists and instruments during a brutal ritual known as “crossing Bus C” while aboard a parked bus after a football game.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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