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No Plea Deal For FAMU Hazing Defendant; Trial To Start Next Week

Robert Champion, a FAMU Drum Major, died in Nov. 2011 from injuries related to a hazing ritual.
Robert Champion

There will be no plea deal for one of the four remaining defendants facing manslaughter charges in the 2011 hazing death of a Florida A&M University band drum major.

The trial for the final four FAMU band members charged in the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion starts next week.

An attorney for Benjamin McNamee told Judge Rene Roche on Wednesday that his client would consider a plea deal if it could be done before the judge who had handled the case previously, but Roche rejected the idea.

Fifteen defendants were charged initially charged with manslaughter in Champion’s death. He died from injuries sustained during a beating ritual aboard a bus following a 2011 Orlando football game.

A majority of the other defendants settled their cases for lesser charges and have received probation or community service. If the final four defendants are convicted of manslaughter, they could face up to 15 years in prison.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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