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FAMU Band 'President' Charged in Hazing Death

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By Deanne Katz, Esq. on August 30, 2012 6:43 AM

It's been almost a year since Robert Champion was beaten to death in a hazing incident but Dante Martin has become the 12th person charged.

Champion was killed during an alleged hazing incident where band members beat him on Florida A&M University's band bus C in 2011. His death made headlines and raised questions about hazing at FAMU.

Martin was allegedly the unofficial president of Bus C in 2011, reports USA Today. He was added as a defendant in the criminal case according to new court documents.

The charges: felony hazing in Champion's death.

Detectives allege that Martin organized the hazing events on Bus C although prosecutors have not confirmed that, according to USA Today.

Martin has also pled not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of hazing in a related incident.

The tragic events that led to Champions death involved a hazing ritual known as 'crossing Bus C.' Initiates had to move from the front to the back of the bus while other band members assaulted them using their hands, feet, and other objects.

Hazing is a serious offense that many states have taken steps to punish.

It's considered more than just assault although that's as serious crime in itself. Hazing requires that the injury happen as a result of some kind of initiation ritual.

It's also possible to charge someone with hazing if no injury occurs but the initiation is dangerous enough to likely cause harm.

Reports of 'crossing Bus C' indicate that it was part of the initiation into the group, according to Orlando Sentinel. It's also clear that Champion died of injuries that could be linked to physical assault.

The trial will determine whether the defendants were actually participants in a hazing incident.

In Martin's case, there have been no allegations that he ever hit anyone according to his attorney. But that doesn't negate the charges.

Hazing isn't just the act itself. In many states it's also illegal to organize such rituals or to encourage others to participate.

The charges against the defendants are all criminal but that doesn't preclude civil charges as well.

A personal injury suit for assault and battery can help the victim collect damages from the incident. A good lawyer can help you build that case.

The investigation into Robert Champion's death appears to be ongoing for now. Dante Martin is the latest person charged in the incident but he may not be the last.

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