Florida hazing defendants to face manslaughter charges: lawyer

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 04, 2013 4:53 PM

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Florida prosecutors will add a manslaughter charge to the case of each of eight college band members already charged with felony hazing in the 2011 death of drum major Robert Champion, one defendant's attorney said on Monday.

"We were certainly not expecting that firework," said lawyer Craig Wellington, who said defense lawyers were alerted via email to the addition of the manslaughter charge minutes before stepping into an Orlando courtroom for the start of a status hearing in the case.

Prosecutors declined to comment.

Wellington said the prosecutor also announced two more people would be charged with manslaughter in Champion's death.

Champion was beaten to death in a hazing ritual in November 2011 on a charter bus that drove the band from Florida A & M University in Tallahassee to a competition in Orlando.

(Reporting by Barbara Liston; Editing by Daniel Trotta)