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mykarma
May 3rd, 2012, 01:47 AM
May 2, 2012 1:51 PM


13 charged in hazing death of FAMU band member Robert Champion
Play CBS News Video

Updated 5:21 PM ET

(CBS/AP) ORLANDO, Fla. - A prosecutor says most of the 13 people charged in the death of Florida A&M university drum major will face a felony hazing charge.

The charges were announced more than five months after 26-year-old Robert Champion died aboard a chartered bus parked outside an Orlando hotel following a performance against a rival school. The case has exposed a harsh tradition among marching bands at some colleges around the U.S. and brought more scrutiny to them.

Champion was severely beaten by band members in November and had with bruises on his chest, arms, shoulder and back, authorities said. Witnesses told emergency dispatchers Champion was vomiting before he was found unresponsive aboard the bus.

The prosecutor announced the charges at a news conference Wednesday. State Attorney Lawson Lamar says 11 of the 13 people charged will face the felony charge. The others will face a misdemeanor charge.

Lamar says a conviction for felony hazing could bring up to nearly six years in prison.

It was not immediately clear whether those charged were all students or whether they included faculty members or others involved in the road trip.

Their names were being withheld until all of them were arrested. By Wednesday afternoon, two were in custody.

The Leon County sheriff's office says two individuals have been booked for their roles in Champion's death. Sheriff's spokesman James McQuaig said 23-year-old Caleb Jackson and 24-year-old Rikki Wills were booked into the Leon County Jail at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Legal experts had predicted prosecutors may file more serious charges like manslaughter and second-degree murder. The Champion family attorney, Christopher Chestnut, said they were disappointed.

"They had hoped for more serious charges. They were hoping for a stronger message. He was beaten to death," he said.

Prosecutors, however, didn't think they had enough evidence.

"The testimony obtained to date does not support a charge of murder, in that it does not contain the elements of murder," Lamar said. "We can prove participation in hazing and a death. We do not have a blow or a shot or a knife thrust that killed Mr. Champion. It is an aggregation of things which exactly fit the Florida statute as written by the Legislature."

Florida's hazing law was passed in 2005 following the death of University of Miami student Chad Meredith four years earlier. Meredith was drunk and died trying to swim across a lake at the behest of fraternity brothers. No criminal charges were filed in his case, but a civil jury ordered the fraternity Kappa Sigma to pay Meredith's parents $12 million.

Parents: FAMU hazing was retaliation

The parents of the dead student, Pam and Robert Champion Sr., say any arrests will be five months overdue.

"When someone loses their life because of a crime, they should be punished," Champion Sr. told CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

"The most important thing is that the example needs to be set," his mother said. "It needs to be an example that sets the stage of what will not be tolerated."
http://abcnews.go.com/ad/introAd3.html?goback=http%3A%2F%2Fabcnews.go.com%2 FUS%2Fthirteen-charged-famu-hazing-drum-major-robert-champions%2Fstory%3Fid%3D16260053

mykarma
May 3rd, 2012, 01:56 AM
May 2, 2012 1:51 PM


13 charged in hazing death of FAMU band member Robert Champion
Play CBS News Video

Updated 5:21 PM ET

(CBS/AP) ORLANDO, Fla. - A prosecutor says most of the 13 people charged in the death of Florida A&M university drum major will face a felony hazing charge.

The charges were announced more than five months after 26-year-old Robert Champion died aboard a chartered bus parked outside an Orlando hotel following a performance against a rival school. The case has exposed a harsh tradition among marching bands at some colleges around the U.S. and brought more scrutiny to them.

Champion was severely beaten by band members in November and had with bruises on his chest, arms, shoulder and back, authorities said. Witnesses told emergency dispatchers Champion was vomiting before he was found unresponsive aboard the bus.

The prosecutor announced the charges at a news conference Wednesday. State Attorney Lawson Lamar says 11 of the 13 people charged will face the felony charge. The others will face a misdemeanor charge.

Lamar says a conviction for felony hazing could bring up to nearly six years in prison.

It was not immediately clear whether those charged were all students or whether they included faculty members or others involved in the road trip.

Their names were being withheld until all of them were arrested. By Wednesday afternoon, two were in custody.

The Leon County sheriff's office says two individuals have been booked for their roles in Champion's death. Sheriff's spokesman James McQuaig said 23-year-old Caleb Jackson and 24-year-old Rikki Wills were booked into the Leon County Jail at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Legal experts had predicted prosecutors may file more serious charges like manslaughter and second-degree murder. The Champion family attorney, Christopher Chestnut, said they were disappointed.

"They had hoped for more serious charges. They were hoping for a stronger message. He was beaten to death," he said.

Prosecutors, however, didn't think they had enough evidence.

"The testimony obtained to date does not support a charge of murder, in that it does not contain the elements of murder," Lamar said. "We can prove participation in hazing and a death. We do not have a blow or a shot or a knife thrust that killed Mr. Champion. It is an aggregation of things which exactly fit the Florida statute as written by the Legislature."

Florida's hazing law was passed in 2005 following the death of University of Miami student Chad Meredith four years earlier. Meredith was drunk and died trying to swim across a lake at the behest of fraternity brothers. No criminal charges were filed in his case, but a civil jury ordered the fraternity Kappa Sigma to pay Meredith's parents $12 million.

Parents: FAMU hazing was retaliation

The parents of the dead student, Pam and Robert Champion Sr., say any arrests will be five months overdue.

"When someone loses their life because of a crime, they should be punished," Champion Sr. told CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

"The most important thing is that the example needs to be set," his mother said. "It needs to be an example that sets the stage of what will not be tolerated."
http://abcnews.go.com/ad/introAd3.html?goback=http%3A%2F%2Fabcnews.go.com%2 FUS%2Fthirteen-charged-famu-hazing-drum-major-robert-champions%2Fstory%3Fid%3D16260053

This is so sad on so many levels now hopefully his parents can finally get some rest. Personally I think the university shares more blame than the students. FAMU's band is one of the best band of all the HBCU schools. It seems as though the band was treated like athletics were schools turned their heads and looked the other way. To bad this had to happen for this crazy practice of hazing will end. This goes for fraternities, sororities, and branches of the military. Like the guy said, hazing is a form of bullying.

Rocketta
May 3rd, 2012, 02:13 AM
I really don't understand why a band would haze??? Like the students have any say in who makes the band? Do they have any say? I would think it's the band instructors who picked the new people to join after they show a musical aptitude??? I don't get it. :confused:

Anyway, It would seem these people made a grave mistake... one person lost his life and it looks like thirteen more lives are forever changed (hopefully in the end, positively, ie speaking against hazing/violence/group mentality). :sad:

AjdeNate!
May 4th, 2012, 01:18 AM
The one time, in band camp... we killed a dude.

Helen Lawson
May 4th, 2012, 01:28 AM
The parents, at least the mom, are really angry the charges weren't more serious. Who can blame them, this kid was beaten to death over a period of time. Then there's the gay element, you think that had nothing to do with this kid being beaten to death?? Where's the hate crime investigation?

It's at least manslaughter, these people were way undercharged, but this kid doesn't have anyone on his side, and no voice. Sad but true.

These people beat him to death, the University had nothing to do with it. Blaming the University is like blaming the Sanford police department for not making the Trayvon Martin neighborhood safer and alleviating the need for neighborhood watch.