Saturday, April 25, 2015

Robert Champion's Death In FAMU Band Hazing Will Have Former Bandmates Heading To The Iron College!

The Florida courts rule in the death of Robert Champion.

Robert Champion's death in a hazing incident led to some of the band members tapping license plates.

Back in the 2011, Champion a drum major who attended Florida A&M was given a serious beat down on a charter bus. When they tried to wake him up, they found Champion unconscious.

He collapsed after undergoing a ritual referred to as "the gauntlet", in which band members must walk from the front of the bus to the back while other band members kick, punch, and hit him with straps, drum sticks and other objects. Fellow band members told detectives that the ritual is required in order to be considered for leadership positions.

His family considered it to be a hate crime because they believed (or assured) their son was gay.

It took a few hours in the courtroom to find some of the 15 members guilty of manslaughter.

That charge alone could land the guilty in the iron college for 5 to 20 years.

The AP reports the jurors left the courtroom around 3:50 p.m. to being deliberating, following closing arguments and jury instructions Friday.

In his closings, a prosecutor said the three remaining defendants on trial for the hazing death of a Florida A&M drum major didn't beat him because they disliked him but because it was tradition.

A total of 15 defendants were charged originally, but most took plea deals.

State Attorney Jeff Ashton said Friday during closing arguments that Robert Champion's death was the result of a hazing tradition that was ingrained in the school's famed band.

Closing arguments were delayed after Ashton wanted to find out if jurors were influenced by the sight of two defendants praying outside the courtroom.

Five of the six jurors said they saw Aaron Golson and Benjamin McNamee praying.

Judge Renee Roche questioned the jurors but no one said it would influence them.

McNamee, Golson and Darryl Cearnel are the final three defendants charged with manslaughter and hazing in Champion's death.

Champion's beating death aboard a band bus parked outside an Orlando hotel after a football game exposed a culture of hazing within the school's famed band.

The medical examiner testified Thursday morning. She told the court how the hazing ritual killed FAMU drum major Robert Champion.

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