A FAMU hazing trial scheduled to begin today in Orange County was postponed this morning.
The criminal case of former FAMU drum major Jarrod Deas has been reset to June 25. He is charged with the misdemeanor hazing of Keon Hollis.
The case is indirectly related to the fatal hazing of Robert Champion, 26, as it occurred on the same night and same bus in the parking lot of the Rosen Plaza hotel in Orlando where the famous marching band was staying.
Deas, Hollis and Champion were fellow drum majors, student leaders of Florida A&M University's Marching 100.
Deas, 24, who declined to be interviewed by detectives after Champion's death, was implicated by Hollis, who went through the hazing ritual moments before Champion did. According to an Orange County sheriff's summary, Hollis said Deas helped him through the "cross over" process by pulling him toward the back of the bus.
Deas is not charged in Champion's fatal hazing.
Detectives said band members believed they earned the respect of their marching peers by completing the ritual, a run from the front of the percussion-section bus to the back through a gauntlet of punches, kicks and other blows.
Deas rode Bus C, the percussion-section bus, on the trip to Orlando.
If guilty of misdemeanor hazing, he could be sentenced to a year in jail. The difference between misdemeanor hazing and felony hazing — the charge facing band members involved in the ritual that killed Champion — is the severity of injury.
Hollis was not seriously injured during his "crossing."
The trial was set to start this morning with Orange County Judge Martha C. Adams presiding. But Assistant State Attorney Nicole Pegues, the lead prosecutor in the hazing cases, was needed in a courtroom across the hall to defend the state's position against motions filed by lawyers for Tyrone Moseby, who wants a new trial in a stray-bullet case.
Pegues has negotiated plea agreements with four of those charged in Champion's death and is hoping to reach resolutions with others charged with manslaughter and felony hazing. Deas is represented by Tallahassee lawyer Mutaquee Naim Akbar.
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