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Harris Given Diverson Deal in Bria Hunter Hazing Case

By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED 6.13.2012 4pm by Julie Montanaro

A Marching 100 member accused of hazing Bria Hunter could have those charges dismissed.

James Harris was one of three men accused of beating Hunter at an off campus apartment last October.

Aaron Golson and Sean Hobson have already been sentenced to probation and time in the jail work camp for it.

Yet prosecutors allowed Harris to sign up for a pre-trial diversion program because they say he was in another room when the beating started, he intervened to stop it and he cooperated fully with investigators.

If Harris completes the diversion program without getting into any more trouble between now and September 4th, prosecutor Jon Fuchs said, the charges against Harris will be dismissed.

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UPDATED 5.17.2012 6:30pm by Julie Montanaro

Two former members of the Marching 100 accused of hazing faced a judge this afternoon.

The two entered pleas but were spared felony records in the hazing of fellow band member Bria Hunter.

Sean Hobson stood before the judge and plead no contest to hazing. He is one of three Marching 100 members accused of punching and pummeling Bria Hunter last fall.

"Was Bria Hunter hazed?"

"I can't say that," Hobson said afterward. "I take my responsibility for what I did. They took responsibility for what they did. I know what happened. She knows what happened and now we can get on with our lives."

Aaron Golson won't be able to get on with his life. He accepted the same plea deal, but is still facing felony charges in the hazing death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion.

He is one of 13 people facing charges in that case.

"Aaron is happy and satisfied that he can put this behind him. Anytime, you can avoid jail time, it's a good thing," said Golson's attorney Craig Brown. Brown said this conviction could be used against Golson in the Champion case. "It does make him an easier target," Brown said.

Golson, Hobson and another band mate were accused of striking Bria Hunter during an initiation into a group of Georgia band members called the Red Dawg Order. It happened at an off campus apartment in October 2011.

Prosecutors say they reduced the charges from felonies to misdemeanors after medical records showed no proof of a cracked femur or other serious injury.

Both Golson and Hobson were adjudicated guilty. They were sentenced to 12 months probation and 30 days on the sheriff's work camp. The men were also ordered to pay restitution for Bria Hunter's medical bills and have no further contact with her.

"There's consequences to everybody's actions," Hobson said. "Not everyone participates in it, but it happens."

James Harris is also charged in this case, but did not appear in court today.

Prosecutor Jon Fuchs says Harris will be offered a diversion agreement which could ultimately result in the charges against him being dropped. Fuchs says Harris put a stop to the hazing that night and later cooperated with the investigation.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - May 17, 2012 - 3:15pm - by Julie Montanaro

Aaron Golson has entered a no contest plea to misdemeanor hazing.

He was sentenced to 12 months probation, 30 days on the sheriffs work camp, restitution for medical bills and no contact with hazing victim Bria Hunter.

Sean Hobson has also entered a no contest plea to misdemeanor hazing.

His sentence is the same: 12 months probation, 30 days on the sheriff's work camp, restitution for medical bills, and no contact with victim Bria Hunter.

A third man accused of hazing Hunter, James Harris, is scheduled to be in court for a status hearing on June 12th.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - May 17, 2012 - Noon -

Three men accused of hazing a fellow Marching 100 band member will go before a judge this afternoon. The men are facing felonies for beating Bria Hunter, who ended up in the hospital and wound up leaving FAMU.

The men are accused of punching and pummeling Bria Hunter last October and are scheduled to enter pleas this afternoon.

Aaron Golson, Sean Hobson and James Harris were arrested and charged with felony hazing. They are accused of beating Hunter as part of initiation for a Georgia-based group called the Red Dawg Order.

It happened at an apartment complex near campus last Halloween 2011. Police reports say Hunter suffered bruising, blood clots, and a fractured femur.

The men are expected in court at 1:15pm for a plea hearing. We will let you know what the terms of that plea are and what sentence the judge imposes.

If the name Aaron Golson sounds familiar to you, he has also been charged in the hazing death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion.

This incident happened just three weeks before Champion was beaten to death.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - May 17, 2012 -

A prosecutor says two defendants accused of hazing a Florida A&M University band member are expected to plead guilty to lesser charges.

Assistant State Attorney Stefanie Walters says they'll be appearing in court Thursday with a third defendant, whose case is expected to be delayed.

Walters says medical records did not support felony hazing charges that require proof of serious bodily injury.

Police say fellow band members beat Bria Shante Hunter on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

Aaron Golson and Sean Hobson, initially charged with felonies, are expected to plead guilty to misdemeanor hazing. Further negotiations are expected in the case of James Harris.

Golson also is one of 11 former band members charged with felony hazing in the Nov. 19 death of drum major Robert Champion in Orlando.


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