ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — 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.