Florida authorities have announced charges against 13 people in the hazing death of Florida A&M University drum major and Southwest DeKalb High School graduate Robert Champion.
According to CNN, the attorney for Champion’s family called the death a murder and said relatives were “disappointed” that more severe charges were not filed.
Florida authorities said 11 of the suspects would be charged with hazing with death, a felony which carries a maximum sentence of six years. Authorities said the evidence in the case would not support a murder charge.
All 13 of the individuals charged are also accused of two counts of first-degree misdemeanor hazing. Two people face a single count of misdemeanor first-degree hazing.
Authorities did not name those charged because most were still being sought.
Two unidentified suspects were being held Wednesday afternoon at the Leon County Jail in Tallahassee, where FAMU is located.
As we previously reported, Champion died after a November 2011 football game in Orlando after he was allegedly beaten on a bus by other marching band members.
Medical examiners ruled his death a homicide, saying he died “within an hour of a hazing incident during which he suffered multiple blunt trauma blows to his body.”
An autopsy found “extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder and back,” as well as “evidence of crushing of areas of subcutaneous fat,” which is the fatty tissue directly under the skin.
FAMU said Wednesday that it has taken significant steps against hazing.
“We are vigorously working to eradicate hazing from FAMU and doing everything within our power to ensure an incident like this never happens again,” President James H. Ammons and Solomon Badger, chairman of the trustees, said in a statement. “Our hearts and our prayers are with the Champion family and the extended FAMU family as we all continue to deal with this tragedy.”
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