90.7 WMFE and 89.5 WMFV are Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming and Classical Music. Part of the community since 1965, providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Former Band Member Gets 6-Year Sentence in FAMU Hazing Death

Play Audio
Robert Champion

Former FAMU bandmember Robert Champion died after a hazing ritual in Orlando in 2011.

A former Florida A&M University band member has been sentenced to more than six years in prison in the 2011 hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

Dante Martin was convicted last October of manslaughter and hazing.

In Orlando Friday he was sentenced to 77 months jail.

Martin’s attorneys had asked for leniency because they said Champion voluntarily participated in the ritual that led to his death.

During the hearing Martin took to the stand to apologize to the Champion family.

“Sometimes in life we just go with what is tradition,” said Martin. “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.

After the hearing Pam Champion said she would continue seeking justice for her son.

“But to be perfectly honest with you I don’t expect it,” she said. “So my focus now is trying to help other parents and mothers and families that have to deal with what we’re dealing with to stop it.”

Martin was one of 15 former band members charged. Most have had their cases settled. Three more face trial this year.

Martin’s attorneys say they plan to appeal.

Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »