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UPDATE: Jurors Find Three Former Florida A&M Band Members Guilty In Hazing Death

Robert Champion

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


Three former Florida A&M University band members charged in the 2011 hazing death of a drum major have been found guilty.

Robert 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.

Attorneys concluded closing arguments Friday.

Prosecutor Jeff Ashton says the ritual is a clear example of hazing.

“But it’s a tradition that has been outlawed. And unfortunately somebody had to die.”

But defense attorney Michael Dicembre, who represents Benjamin McNamee, says prosecutors are basing their case on eyewitness testimony.

“Eyewitness testimony can be false, and it can often be at odds with other eyewitness testimony. Now it’s going to be up to you to reconcile all of that.”

McNamee, Aaron Golson and Darryl Cearnel were charged with manslaughter and hazing.

More than a dozen band members were charged. One was convicted. Most cases were settled.


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Amy Green covers the environment 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 work has been heard ... Read Full Bio »

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