Five years before Florida A&M University drum Major Robert Champion died in a 2011 hazing incident, the school served as the test case for one of the nation’s toughest hazing laws. Michael Morton and Jason Harris served two years in prison before their convictions were overturned in 2009. Now Morton is an advisor on the Industrial and Mechanical Engineering Advisory Council for the FAMU-Florida State University College of Engineering and works at Johnson and Johnson.
Michael Morton was an honor roll student, majoring in engineering at the Florida A&M Florida State University College of Engineering. He had just landed a job at Pepsi in 2006 and was months away from graduating. He was involved in the Student Government Association and served as President of the Student Senate. Morton had served two terms as president of the FAMU chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, a prestigious fraternity.
All that was destroyed in February 2006 when Morton, a member FAMU Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, and several other fraternity members hazed former student Marcus Jones, who was attempting to join the organization.
He was paddled with wooden canes and punched during unauthorized rituals, his injuries required surgeries.
Four students, including Morton were tried on felony hazing charges, but the jury couldn't reach a verdict. They were tried again and Morton, along with fellow fraternity brother Jason Harris, were found guilty.
Morton and Harris served two years in prison before their convictions were overturned. Morton returned to FAMU to finish his degree. Today, he works for Johnson and Johnson, and councils students against hazing, using his own life as an example.