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Man charged with manslaughter in drum major death pleads guilty

Many readers of this blog likely remember the 26-year-old drum major from Florida A & M who died after he was involved in a hazing incident that took place in November 2011. The incident reportedly involved the man's beating at the hands of other members of the band, on a bus, to obtain entrance into an exclusive group within the band.

As a result of the fatal incident, 12 individuals who had been a part of the Florida A & M band were charged with felony hazing. Recently, those charges were upgraded to include manslaughter as well. Now, one of the individuals charged in the case has indicated his interest in taking a plea deal. Accordingly, the 24-year-old is expected to plead guilty to both of the charges.

It is not clear what he will receive in exchange for his cooperation or why he made that decision. As he is currently in jail due to violating probation, a past criminal record could have something to do with it.

All involved likely had bright futures and it is fair to say that none of the 12 band members charged in the man's death planned on him dying. As a result, many are likely reeling not only from his death, but the criminal charges they are facing as well. At the time of the incident the college students were working to build lives and position themselves to move into the working world, while at the same time pursing their love of music in the band. The incident has left all involved with nothing that they expected.

Whatever one's station in life, when facing criminal charges it is vital to pursue a solid defense in the matter. Most find that entails working with a criminal defense attorney. While that person may determine that facing trial is the best course of action, in other situations, due to the specifics surrounding the case, pursuing a plea agreement, as one of the band members in this cases has, may be the way to go.

Source: Central Florida News 13, "FAMU hazing suspect to take plea deal," March 8, 2013

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