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Jury Recently Passed Judgement in FAMU drum major's hazing death... (11842 hits)

A former Florida A&M band member accused of being the ringleader of a brutal hazing ritual known as "Crossing Bus C" that killed a drum major was convicted Friday of manslaughter and felony hazing.

Dante Martin, 27, was the first to stand trial in the November 2011 death of 26-year-old Robert Champion aboard a band bus parked outside a football game where the well-regarded Marching 100 band had performed. The case brought into focus the culture of hazing in the band, which was suspended for more than a year while officials tried to clean up the program.

Martin was known as "the president of Bus C," witnesses testified, and he organized the initiations that required fellow band members to try to make their way through a pounding gauntlet of fists, drumsticks and mallets from the front of the bus to the back, including on that November day. Two other band members went through the bus before Champion, who was from Decatur, Georgia. Martin was convicted of misdemeanor hazing counts in their beatings.

Champion's parents sat silently as the verdicts were read. Martin sat with his head down as several members of his family wept in the gallery behind him. Martin was found guilty.

"No one won here today no one," said Robert Champion Sr. "We hate to see anyone's child go to prison. To know that my son's life will not be in vain, that he will make a difference, I hope that people will get the message that hazing isn't cool. It doesn't work. It doesn't need to be here. You need to stop now."

The jury deliberated for about an hour before delivering its verdict.

Martin's sentencing was set for Jan. 9 and he was taken into custody immediately after the verdict. Manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years in prison in Florida. The hazing conviction means he could spend up to 22 years in jail.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/article3490214.html#storylink=cpy
Posted By: Will Moss
Sunday, November 2nd 2014 at 4:56PM
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