Eight defendants who face manslaughter charges were supposed to appear in court on October 4 for a status hearing. "That hearing has been rescheduled for October 25," reports the Associated Press.
Robert Champion died from blunt force trauma after the brutal hazing , which allegedly included being kicked, punched and hit with traffic cones. Fifteen former members of FAMU's "Marching 100" band were charged with manslaughter and hazing in March 2013. Fourteen defendants later pleaded "not guilty. Since then, "six have accepted plea deals that included community service and probation for what prosecutors said were minor roles. A seventh is awaiting sentencing," adds the AP.
Florida A&M University is the state's only public, historically Black university. The Tallahassee-based university was founded in 1887 "and it is the largest historically black university in the United States by enrollment," according to its Wiki.
FAMU is well-known for its Marching "100" Band—which has a long history of violent hazing incidents. Investigators learned in May 2012 that more than 100 members of the marching band were NOT registered students.
Champion's parents publicly revealed in January 2012 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: "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell": Why Has Black Media Ignored the Sexuality of FAMU Hazing Victim Robert Champion?"
In other news: The Marching 100 had been suspended for about 21 months after Champion's death. The suspension has been removed and the band returned to the field in early September for the school's season-opening football game against Mississippi Valley State. Despite the unresolved death of Robert Champion, life goes on for the FAMU Marching 100 ... and the university's multi-million dollar football program.
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