8 Florida A&M hazing suspects surrender

May 4, 2012 at 7:38 AM   |   Comments

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., May 4 (UPI) -- Eight of 13 people facing hazing charges in the death of a Florida A&M University band member have surrendered to authorities, police said.

Gretl Plessinger, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said the eight, who turned themselves in Thursday, face felony charges in the death last November of 26-year-old Robert Champion, CNN reported Friday.

Three others, two in Georgia and one in Delaware, face the same felony count, Plessinger said.

"We're in contact with their attorneys or their families and are expecting them to turn themselves in," Plessinger said.

Two others among the 13 each face a misdemeanor hazing charge.

Champion, a FAMU Marching 100 drum major, collapsed on a bus after a November 2011 football game in Orlando. Medical examiners said he died within an hour of being beaten during a hazing incident.

Prosecutors announced charges in Champion's death Wednesday.

Champion's mother, Pam Champion, has said her family was disappointed the suspects weren't charged with more serious crimes. She said she thought authorities improperly processed the bus for evidence and failed to immediately question students who were on the bus.

The family's lawyer, Chris Chestnut, said the family also thinks the Tallahassee school's alumni prepped the students on how to answer questions from police, CNN reported.

Deputy Ginette Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, said the department conducted a thorough investigation.

"I know our deputies questioned everyone available," Rodriguez said. "I can assure you our detectives conducted a thorough and complete investigation, as we do in every case."

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