Defense Attorneys Say Hazing Death Of Drum Major Was A 'Contest'

Oct 14, 2014

Robert Champion died in 2011 due to injuries sustained in a hazing ritual.
Credit Robert Champion

The four remaining defendants in the hazing death of a Florida A&M University marching band drum major are about to go on trial, and their attorneys argue what happened to Robert Champion was part of a contest.

Defense attorneys are making a case that Florida's anti-hazing law is so vague that what happened to Champion wasn't hazing but part of a contest.
The defense is asking a judge for a hearing challenging the anti-hazing law. Circuit Judge Rene Roche set a hearing a week before the defendants' Oct. 27 trial.

Robert Champion died from injuries sustained during a hazing ritual aboard a bus in Orlando, following the FAMU Marching 100’s performance at the Orlando Classic in November 2011. Officials charged fifteen former band members with manslaughter. All except the final four, settled their cases, with most receiving probation for misdemeanor offenses.

Champion died after a running aboard a parked bus through a gauntlet of band members who hit him.