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Upgraded charges in college student's hazing death encourage victim’s parents

Wire • Mar 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM

The parents of Robert Champion on Tuesday applauded the upgrading to manslaughter of the charges facing former FAMU band members in the hazing death of the drum major.

“We applaud and commend” the action by the Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office, said Pamela Champion, during a morning press conference in Atlanta. “Hazing does not depict what was done to my son.”

New State Attorney Jeff Ashton called the family Friday to tell them the news, said the Champions’ lawyer, Christopher Chestnut.

“It was a shock, a good shock — a shock of encouragement,” said Chestnut, adding that he and the family were “more encouraged now.”

Prosecutors also charged two more ex-band members, Henry Nesbitt, 26, and Darryl Cearnel, 25, in the fatal hazing.

Pamela and Robert Champion Sr., who live in Georgia, had been skeptical about the number of band members charged at the time given that more than 20 people were aboard the parked charter bus on which Champion was beaten.

The additional charges were “based on existing evidence,” said Chestnut. Ashton “looked at the same facts and said there’s enough here for manslaughter charges. There are no new facts.”


©2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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