Jury convicts 3 of manslaughter Florida A&M hazing death

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jurors have convicted the last three defendants of manslaughter and hazing in the death of a Florida A&M drum major, ending a three-year-old case that shined a light on ritualized hazing within the school’s famed band.

The six-member jury deliberated for 2 1/2 hours Friday before reaching a verdict.

Benjamin McNamee, Darryl Cearnel and Aaron Golson were the final three defendants charged with manslaughter and hazing for 26-year-old Robert Champion’s death in 2011.

A total of 15 defendants were charged originally.

Champion’s beating death aboard a band bus parked outside an Orlando hotel after a football game exposed a culture of hazing within the school’s band.

Champion ran through a gauntlet of fellow band members who punched, kicked and struck him with instruments. He collapsed and died a short time later.

Trial to begin with jury selection for final 3 defendants in hazing death of FAMU drum major

Robert Champion, the FAMU drum major who died after a hazing incident in Orlando, was a FAMU drum major from Southwest DeKalb High School near Atlanta.
photo: David Tulis/Special to the Orlando Sentinel

Published April 20, 2015Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. – The trial of the remaining three former band members charged in the hazing death of a Florida A&M drum major is set to begin.

Jury selection is expected to occupy much of Monday.

Defendants Benjamin McNamee, Aaron Golson and Darryl Cearnel are being tried together, and each faces 15 years for the November 2011 death of 26-year-old Robert Champion.

Champion of Decatur, Georgia, was beaten during a brutal hazing ritual after a football game in November 2011.

The incident exposed a culture of hazing within FAMU’s famed Marching 100 band.

Fifteen former band members were charged with manslaughter. One served one year in county jail. Others plea bargained for probation and community service. The band was suspended for more than a year.

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