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Investigator: FAMU hazing suspects 'torn' in interview

11:17 AM, Jan 7, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- It is the biggest hazing scandal in recent history; an investigation so extensive it has silenced a world-renowned marching band and thrown a university into crisis mode.

Since the November 2011 death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, the school's president and band director have both resigned, the university is under scrutiny from the Florida Board of Governors and facing a civil lawsuit and ten students are still awaiting trial on felony hazing charges. (One other student was sentenced to probation.)

But before the investigations, lawsuit and charges, three members of the Marching 100 spoke with a private investigator hired by the Champion family and attorney.

The newly-released taped conversations, obtained exclusively by 11Alive News, were recorded less than two months after Champion's death. In them, the young men were guarded, but still gave broken details of what happened that night.

Investigator Eric Echols said because the incident was still fresh, the young men were torn about what information to divulge.

"[There was] the loyalty on one side, with the band and getting in trouble," said investigator Eric Echols. "Then on the other side, they had a brother who went down and who died that they still had some moral obligation to and wanted to help. So they talked."

Echols said the young men all seemed genuinely remorseful, but determined to protect themselves, FAMU and former band director Dr. Julian White.

Two of the young men, Jonathan Boyce and Rikki Wills, are still awaiting trial on hazing charges. The two served as drum majors alongside Champion.

WXIA

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