Prosecutors have filed charges against 13 Florida A&M University students for the hazing death of their fellow band member Robert Champion last November after a football game.
Joyce Dawley of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's (FDLE) Orlando division said one person was in custody and another is out of state. The others are being sought by sheriff's deputies and the FDLE.
Eleven of the students will face felony hazing charges while five are also looking at misdemeanor hazing charges, Orange County Sheriff Jerry L. Demings said during a press conference on Wednesday.
Demings said the 26-year old's death was ruled a homicide. A medical examiner found that Champion died on Nov. 19 as a result of hemorrhagic shock because of blunt force trauma.
Mr. Champion was beaten severely, Demings said.
Florida State Attorney Lawson Lamar said the names of the students charged will not be released at this time in order to prevent their possible fleeing. Once they are all in police custody the names will be released.
This is a terrible tragedy for [the Champion family], Lamar said.
Lamar said prosecutors didn't opt for a heavier charge, such as murder, because the testimonies obtained didn't support that.
We don't have a knife thrust that killed Champion, Lamar said. It was an aggregation of things that killed him.
The charges could bring to the forefront the culture of hazing at FAMU and other institutions. The Associated Press reported that in 2001, FAMU band member Marcus Parker suffered kidney damage after being beaten with a paddle. Just three years prior, a clarinet player from Ocala, Florida, named Ivery Luckey, said he was paddled about 300 times. He was taken to the hospital and suffered physical and emotional scars, according to the AP.