FAMU hazing death: Criminal charges filed against 13 students


The Florida A&M University marching band performs at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., prior to Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, 2010.


Win McNamee

Criminal charges were announced Wednesday against 13 Florida A&M University students accused in the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion, Jr.

The students face misdemeanor and felony hazing charges, but were been charged with murder or manslaughter, CBS News reported.

More from GlobalPost: FAMU hazing death ruled a homicide

Champion, 26, died last November following a football game, after vomiting and complaining he couldn’t breathe. The cause of death was trauma, caused by excessive bleeding after a hazing ritual aboard a band charter bus involving more than two dozen students, the Orange-Osceola Medical Examiner's Office ruled.

"Robert Champion died as a result of being beaten," State Attorney Lawson Lamar told reporters, according to CNN. "His death is not linked to one sole strike, but is attributed to multiple blows."

More from GlobalPost: FAMU hazing death: 4 students expelled

Attorney Christopher Chestnut told the Orlando Sentinel that Champion's family was disappointed, adding they had hoped for more serious charges.

His father, Robert Champion Sr., told CBS News that any arrests will be five months overdue.

"When someone loses their life because of a crime, they should be punished," he said.

"The most important thing is that the example needs to be set," Champion's mother, Pam, told CBS News. "It needs to be an example that sets the stage of what will not be tolerated."

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

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