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Ex-FAMU Band Member Found Guilty Of Hazing, Manslaughter

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

A former Florida A & M band member has been found guilty of manslaughter in the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

A jury also found Dante Martin guilty of felony hazing in Champion’s death.

Champion died in Orlando in November 2011 after taking part in a ritual known as ‘Crossing Bus C’ in which he was beaten by fellow band members. His mother spoke to reporters outside the Orange County Courthouse.

"There's no reason to celebrate, there's no reason to be joyful. And the tears are not only, right now I don't have any tears. But those tears - they will come, I can guarantee you - will not only be for my son but for this young man," said Champion's mother, Pam Champion.

Defense attorneys earlier told the court that what happened to Champion was senseless and foolish - but it wasn't a crime under the state's hazing law. They argued the ritual sprang from a culture of competition within the band.

Martin faces up to 22 years in jail. Three other former band members are still awaiting trial, and a wrongful death lawsuit filed against FAMU by Champion's parents is still pending.