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13 Face Criminal Charges In Florida A&M Hazing Death

Criminal charges have been filed against 13 individuals in the November 2011 death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, Florida State Attorney Lawson Lamor just announced.

As the Tallahassee Democrat recounts, "detectives say Champion suffered blunt trauma blows and that he died from shock caused by severe bleeding after he was hazed by other band members on a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel. Hazing that involves bodily harm is a third-degree felony in Florida.

"Robert Champion tragically died of being beaten to death on that bus," Lamor just said.

He did not identify the 13 individuals, saying that some remain at large.

As Korva Coleman has previously reported for us, hazing has been a tradition for the Florida A&M's Marching 100 Band.

Correction at 4:30 p.m. ET: Earlier, we had the year wrong when we referred to Champion's death. It's now correct in the post.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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  • Julian White was fired as head of the prestigious program after the hazing-related death of his drum major. White says if university officials had heeded his warnings, Robert Champion may still be alive.
  • A story about violent hazing in the marching bands at historically black colleges and universities — HBCUs — detailed a problem, but no changes were made. So extreme has been the band torture at some schools that victims have had to be hospitalized.