FAMU Band Member Sentenced to Six Years in Band Member’s Hazing Death

Former Florida A&M University band member, Dante Martin, was sentenced for his role in the 2011 hazing that resulted in the death of fellow band member Robert Champion Jr.

Martin is said to have organized the hazing that band members dubbed “Crossing Bus C,” according to the prosecuting attorneys. He was the first of the 15 people to stand trial for his part in the death of Campion.

Martin will spend 77 months in prison for charges of manslaughter and felony hazing of drum major Robert Champion Jr. Prosecutors pushed for the a nine year sentence, but the presiding judge went with a reduced sentence.

Judge Renee Roche opted for a lesser sentence for Martin due to her belief that Champion was a “willing participant” in the hazing ritual, according to the Associated Press.

During his sentencing on Friday, Martin said, “I honestly am ashamed that I can even remotely be a part or associated with anything that could take the life of a human being. It hurts me. I’m terribly sorry.”

After Martin’s sentencing, Champion’s parents wished that a tougher sentence had been handed down. They had hopes of a sentence that would send a message to other students at FAMU who may take part in future incidents of hazing, which has been a part of the university’s marching band history.

Champion’s parents said, “If people are not held accountable for what they are doing, then what is the system about? That’s the key is sending a strong message. That’s what we’re missing here.”

The hazing ritual that resulted in Champion’s death took place in November of 2011 in Orlando, Florida. He is said to have been beaten inside one of the university’s buses after a football game. According to other band members, those being hazed are made to run up and down the bus aisle as they are subjected to being assaulted by fellow band members by way of punching and kicking.

At the end of Martin’s sentencing on Friday, Champion’s parents imparted one last message to him. Pam Champion said, “I just want to let you know I forgive you. I don’t hate you at all. And I don’t want you shedding tears for my family because my fight is not over. My fight is not with you.”

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