FLORIDA — Florida authorities have brought charges against 13 people in what they called the hazing death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, a prosecutor announced Wednesday.
"Robert Champion died as a result of being beaten," State Attorney Lawson Lamar told reporters. "His death is not linked to one sole strike, but is attributed to multiple blows."
Champion died after collapsing on a bus that was carrying members of FAMU's Marching 100 back from a football game. Medical examiners ruled his death a homicide, saying he died "within an hour of a hazing incident during which he suffered multiple blunt trauma blows to his body."
Some university band members have said the 26-year-old died after taking part in an annual rite of passage called "Crossing Bus C," an initiation process in which pledges attempt to run down the center aisle from the front door of the bus to the back while being punched, kicked and assaulted by senior members.
An autopsy found "extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder and back," as well as "evidence of crushing of areas of subcutaneous fat," which is the fatty tissue directly under the skin.
The death prompted the university board of trustees to approve an anti-hazing plan that includes an independent panel of experts to investigate.
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