FAMU hazing death trial set for Oct. 8

June 14, 2012 at 1:26 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., June 14 (UPI) -- A Florida judge Thursday set an Oct. 8 trial date for 11 ex-Florida A&M University marching band members accused in the hazing death of Robert Champion.

Only one of the defendants, former drum major Shawn Turner, showed up for an arraignment in Orlando, where Circuit Judge Marc Lubet set the date for trial, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The newspaper said almost all of the defendants had filed written not guilty pleas and were excused from court.

Lubet appointed an assistant public defender, Margaret McDonnell, to represent Turner. She said she advised Turner not to speak to reporters.

After the hearing, Craig J. Brown, a lawyer representing defendant and former band member Aaron Golson, said he doubted the hazing cases would be ready by October, given the number of defendants and dozens of potential witnesses to interview.

Brown predicted the cases would not be ready for trial until next year.

The defendants, all of whom were members of FAMU's Marching 100, are charged with felony hazing in the death of Champion, who was a drum major.

Prosecutors said Champion, 26, died Nov. 19 when he was "pummeled to death" during a hazing ritual aboard the percussion section's bus when it was parked outside an Orlando hotel after an FAMU game.

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