Felony charges filed in death of FAMU drum major
Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion died in November after a hazing ritual on a band bus
May 2nd, 2012
02:37 PM ET

Felony charges filed in death of FAMU drum major

Florida authorities have brought felony charges against 13 people in what they called the hazing death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, a prosecutor announced Wednesday.

"Robert Champion died as a result of being beaten," State Attorney Lawson Lamar said. "His death is not linked to one sole strike but is attributed to multiple blows."

Joyce Dawley, the head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Orlando division, said one person was in custody and one was being sought out of state. Sheriff's deputies and the FDLE were looking for the other 11 within Florida, she said.

Twenty misdemeanor charges also have been filed, but it was not immediately clear how those applied to the 13 people.

Champion collapsed in Orlando on the bus, which was carrying members of FAMU's Marching 100 after a November football game that included a halftime performance by the group.

Medical examiners ruled his death a homicide, saying he died "within an hour of a hazing incident during which he suffered multiple blunt trauma blows to his body."

"This is a homicide by hazing," Lamar said.

Some university band members have said the 26-year-old died after taking part in an annual rite of passage called "Crossing Bus C," an initiation process in which pledges attempt to run down the center aisle from the front door of the bus to the back while being punched, kicked and assaulted by senior members.

An autopsy found "extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder and back," as well as "evidence of crushing of areas of subcutaneous fat," which is the fatty tissue directly under the skin.

The death prompted the university board of trustees to approve an anti-hazing plan that includes an independent panel of experts to investigate.

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Filed under: Crime • Florida
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. banasy ©


    May 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. saywhat

    My sympathies for the victim's family.This wouldn't bring him back. But hopefully deter others from committing a brutal act like this.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ben

    Bravo – It is about time PENALTIES are given for these horrid behaviors to HELP STOP ignorant HAZING.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Iamrightyouarewrong

    Rosa Parks would have lived. She wouldn't have had to run very far. Limiting the amount of blows dealt to her. Sitting in black of bus. Oops meant back sorry.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. G. Zeus™

    It's not "homicide by hazing", it's felony homicide from repeated felony assault. Hazing is just a cover word.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. **cosmicVox *

    @ youarewrong, What the H-LL kind of Asinine remark is that?

    May 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hunor

    this looks amazing!!! wish their was a class like this in eagnnld ive bin trying to copy it but no were as good as these lot!! well done x

    July 14, 2012 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |