Hazing Trial Starts for 1 FAMU Band Member

FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2011 file photo, Robert Champion, a drum major in Florida A&M University's Marching 100 band, performs during halftime of a football game in Orlando, Fla. The trial for four band members charged in the hazing death of Champion begins Monday, Oct. 27, 2014 in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Joseph Brown III, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2011 file photo, Robert Champion, a drum major in Florida A&M University's Marching 100 band, performs during halftime of a football game in Orlando, Fla. The trial for four band members charged in the hazing death of Champion begins Monday, Oct. 27, 2014 in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Joseph Brown III, File)
Robert Champion, a drum major in Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 band, performs during halftime of a football game in Orlando, Fla. The trial for four band members charged in the hazing death of Champion begins today in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Joseph Brown III, File)

Kyle Hightower, ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The trials of three of four members of Florida A&M University’s marching band on charges of felony hazing and manslaughter have been postponed until April. But the trial of a fourth member began with jury selection Monday, nearly three years after drum major Robert Champion died from being beaten.

Judge Renee Roche delayed the trial for defendants Benjamin McNamee, Aaron Golson and Darryl Cearnel after their attorneys said they did not have the opportunity to question witnesses about hazing charges that were added to the case.

Dante Martin’s trial is expected to last a week.

All four have pleaded not guilty in the death of Champion, of Decatur, Georgia. He died from what authorities say was a hazing ritual in November 2011.

His death has shone a spotlight on a hazing ritual at FAMU known as “crossing Bus C,” and caused the band — which had played at the Super Bowl and before U.S. presidents — to be suspended for over a year. It also contributed to the resignation of the university’s president.

 

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