6 Defendants in FAMU Hazing Death of Robert Champion Reject Plea Deals; Will Go to Trial

Robert Champion (Credit: HipHopWired.com)
Robert Champion (Credit: HipHopWired.com)

Lawyers for six people charged in the hazing death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion said their defendants will go to trial.

The six decided against plea deals nearly two years after Champion’s death caught national attention and sidelined the Marching 100 band.

The former FAMU band members face manslaughter and hazing charges in the November 2011 death of Champion of Decatur, Ga.

“Well, that’s their right.  I can’t say whether it was right or wrong, but that’s their right,” said Champion’s father Robert Champion, Sr.

Champion’s parents were in court Friday morning as a judge set a June 9 trial date.

“We need to get this over with and show people that justice can be done,” said Champion.

“Our goal now is to basically make sure this doesn’t happen to anybody else,” said Robert Champion’s mother, Pamela Champion.

Pamela Champion said she is concerned that hazing still happens at FAMU.

“We have that concern for the students that are there in that band,” she said.

The Champions said one way to stop hazing is to call it what they believe it truly is.

“It’s abuse, even murder,” said Pamela Champion.

Fifteen former band members were charged in Champion’s death.

Eight have accepted deals, with seven already sentenced to combinations of probation and community service.

Another, Caleb Jackson, pleaded no contest to manslaughter in April, but has yet to be sentenced.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.