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Ex-FAMU Band Member Sentenced To Prison For Role In 2011 Hazing Death

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Tony Levell
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FAMU Band Drum major Robert Champion died in November following a hazing event after the Florida Classic Football game in Orlando

Dante Martin has been sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the 2011 hazing death of a Florida A&M University band drum major. Martin is the second person to get jail time in the hazing death of Robert Champion.

Robert Champion died in November 2011 after he was beaten in a hazing ritual following a football game in Orlando. A judge ruled Dante Martin was the ringleader of the hazing ritual. 9-1-1 calls sent immediately after Champion collapsed reveal the severity of the situation:

“We are at the Rosen plaza off I-Drive and one of our drum majors is on the bus, he’s not breathing," a caller told an emergency operator.

Champion’s death brought attention to the issue of hazing in collegiate organizations, and led universities to re-examine their policies on hazing. Florida A&M University’s famed Marching 100 band was suspended for a year as the university worked to reform it.

Martin Apologizes

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Martin was convicted in October of manslaughter and hazing. He apologized to the Champion family during his sentencing hearing in Orlando Friday.

 "Sometimes in life we just go with what is tradition. We don't second-guess it. We don't doubt it."

Champion died during a ritual known as, "Crossing Bus C." It involved facing a gauntlet of band members on a bus who beat him with belts, mallets and drum sticks.

Martin was one of 15 former band members charged. Most have had their cases settled for community service and/or probation. Three more people face trial this year.

Martin's attorneys say they plan to appeal.  
 

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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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