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Final FAMU Hazing Defendants To Go To Trial

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

The three remaining defendants charged in the death of a former FAMU drum major are set to go to trial this month.

The attorneys for Aaron Golson, Benjamin McNamee and Darryl Cearnel say they are ready for trial. An Orange County Judge has set an April 20th start date.

The men are charged with manslaughter and felony hazing in the November 2011 death of Robert Champion. He was beaten during a hazing ritual aboard a bus in Orlando following a football game, and died as a result of his injuries.

Eleven former band members faced varying degrees of charges related to the case. Most received probation and community service. In January, Dante Martin became the first to receive a prison sentence of six years for his role as the supposed, “ring leader”.  

FAMU’s Marching 100 band was suspended for a year following Champion’s death. The case sparked Florida’s public universities to review their anti-hazing policies.  FAMU is still in litigation in a civil lawsuit stemming from Champion's death.

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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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