Charges to be filed in Florida hazing death: authorities

Reuters News
Posted: May 01, 2012 8:13 PM

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Multiple people will be charged in the case of a Florida marching band drum major who was killed in Orlando in a brutal hazing ritual in November 2011, authorities said on Tuesday.

Law authorities in Orange County said that the defendants will be charged with a wide range of misdemeanor and felony charges. County prosecutors will hold a news conference on Wednesday to release details of their investigation, a news release said.

"Multiple individuals will be charged with crimes," Orange County Deputy Sheriff Ginette Rodriguez told Reuters.

Florida A&M University (FAMU) drum major Robert Champion died on a band charter bus after the renowned 'Marching 100' band performed at the annual Florida Classic football game last autumn.

Champion's death was ruled a homicide as a result of a hemorrhagic shock from a beating during the hazing, according to the medical examiner's office.

FAMU in January banned all student organizations from recruiting new members until fall and canceled summer band camp.

A lawyer told Reuters that two FAMU music professors recently resigned after a Tallahassee police report alleged they were present at a band party where students were hazed.

One professor, Diron Holloway, allegedly took part in beating students who were pledging for a fraternity during a party at his home in the spring of 2010, the police said.

Students who attended the party told investigators that another professor, Anthony Simons III, was also present, according to the police report.

Tallahassee defense attorney Mutaqee Akbar told Reuters that both men resigned after receiving letters from the university notifying them its intent to dismiss them. Akbar has told Reuters that Simons doesn't remember whether he was at the party but that he never witnessed or participated in hazing.

A spokesman for the Champion family told Reuters the family has not been notified of the impending charges.

(Editing by David Adams and Philip Barbara)