PHOTO: Rattler Nation
A cruel footnote to the death of Robert Champion, the openly gay Florida A&M University drum major who died last November after a vicious hazing from fellow band members. Prosecutors have revealed that several men who marched in front of Champion's casket at his funeral were among those who allegedly beat him to death, reports ABC News.
Three of the Florida A&M University band members charged in the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion were fellow drum majors who escorted his casket as an honor guard at his November funeral. ...
Florida State Attorney Lawson Lamar announced charges [on May 2] brought against 13 individuals in connection to Champion's death. Among the  charged with felony hazing were Jonathan Boyce, 24, Shawn Turner, 26, and Rikki Wills, 24, all fellow drum majors. They were among five drum majors who led Champion's funeral march, escorting his casket during the funeral.
"I can confirm that some of the people arrested were part of the funeral," Champion family attorney Christopher Chestnut told ABCNews.com. When asked about Boyce, Turner and Wills, Chestnut said, "Yes, they were drum majors that participated in the funeral."
Champion died during a band trip to Orlando on 19 November 2011. The 26-year-old drum major suffered blunt trauma blows and died from shock caused by severe bleeding, according to the autopsy. Champion was reportedly vomiting before he was found unresponsive aboard the bus.
Thirteen defendants were charged with felony hazing on May 2. Two defendants face midemeanor counts. The felony hazing charge carries a maximum penalty of almost six years.
Investigators have learned that more than 100 members of FAMU's famous marching band are NOT registered students. This includes at least three of the 11 band members charged almost two weeks ago with felony hazing
Champion's parents publicly revealed in January that their son was gay. In addition to being vocally opposed to hazing, Champion's sexuality could have been among the reasons why he was viciously beaten during the attack, according to the family's attorney. Read more at my article for Ebony.com: "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell": Why Has Black Media Ignored the Sexuality of FAMU Hazing Victim Robert Champion?"
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