Friday, January 9, 2015

Leader in FAMU Hazing Incident Sentenced to 6 years in Prison

Some new movement in the Robert Champion case.

Dante Martin, a former Florida A&M University (FAMU) band member, was sentenced to 77 months (6 years) in prison for the hazing death of Robert Champion. Dante was lucky, because the prosecutors wanted nine years. In a quick recap, Robert was killed in a hazing incident at FAMU back in 2011. Some believed Robert received harsher hazing because he was gay.

Buzzfeed reports:

Prosecutors called Martin the ringleader of a brutal hazing ritual that led to 26-year-old Champion’s death on the bus of the famous Marching 100 band during halftime of a football game between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman University.

Martin faced up to 22 years in prison after he was convicted of manslaughter in October. He is the first of 15 former band members to receive jail time for the incident. Nine have been sentenced to combinations of community service and probation, the StarTribune reported.

Martin took the stand Friday, saying, “This is something I will live with for the rest of my life. Referring to the hazing ritual that killed Champion, he said, “Sometimes we just go with what is tradition. We don’t second guess it, we don’t doubt it.”

During the ritual, Champion was made to walk shirtless from the front of the bus to back while band members punched, kicked and beat him with objects including a drum mallet and a traffic cone. He died of soft tissue bleeding, the medical examiner ruled.

The incident triggered widespread outrage and the band was suspended for more than a year.
This has been a long haul, but it isn't over. More to come.

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Viktor is a small town southern boy living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Twitter, writing about pop culture, politics, and comics. He’s the creator of the graphic novel StrangeLore and currently getting back into screenwriting.