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Jury Convicts Final Three Defendants In FAMU Hazing Case

Robert Champion died in Nov. 2011 after he was beaten in a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel.
Robert Champion

An Orlando jury has handed down hazing and manslaughter convictions to the final three defendants in the death of a Florida A&M University marching band drum major. The verdict brings a three and a half year old legal saga to a close.

Fifteen former FAMU band members were initially charged in the hazing death of Robert Champion. He was beaten aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel in 2011 following a football game. The death exposed a culture of hazing within the school’s band—revered for its high-stepping and energetic performances.

Most of the people charged in the case received probation and community service. But Benjamin McNamee, Darryl Cearnel and Aaron Golson have been found guilty of felony hazing and manslaughter.

Last October former band member Dante Martin was found guilty of the same charges. He became the first person to get a prison sentence for his role as the ringleader. He was sentenced to six 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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