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Criminal Charges Coming in FAMU Hazing Death

2:32 AM, May 2, 2012   |    comments
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Criminal charges are expected to be filed Wednesday in Orlando in the suspected hazing death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion.

"We're announcing that charges will be filed against several people involved in the death," a law enforcement source close to the investigation said.

State Attorney Lawson Lamar of Orange and Osceola counties will hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon, his office said.

A spokeswoman for the university declined to comment on the news conference because the school did not have any details about it.

Champion, 26, died in November.

Some university band members have said Champion died after taking part in an annual rite of passage called "Crossing Bus C."

The ritual is an initiation process in which pledges attempt to run down the center aisle from the front door of the bus to the back while being punched, kicked and assaulted by senior members, according to band members.

Champion collapsed in Orlando on the bus, which was carrying members of FAMU's Marching 100 after a November football game that included a halftime performance by the group.

The medical examiner's office ruled his death a homicide and said he "collapsed and 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.

The death prompted the university board of trustees to approve an anti-hazing plan that includes an independent panel of experts to investigate.


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