• Parents pleased with upgraded charges in son's hazing death


    ATLANTA - The parents of a DeKalb County drum major killed in a hazing incident spoke publicly Tuesday morning about the new manslaughter charges filed in their son's death.

    Robert Champion Jr. was a member of the Florida A&M University marching band and died November 2011.

    Robert and Pamela Champion and their attorney Chris Chestnut held a news conference about the upgraded charges in downtown Atlanta just before noon.

    They gave all the credit to the newly-elected state attorney in Orange County Fla., who on Monday announced he was raising the charges. Channel 2's Shae Rozzi was at Tuesday's conference, where officials said there is no new evidence, just a more confident prosecutor.

    The Champions and Chestnut believe the manslaughter charges now being brought against 12 former band members will help get justice for their son. The 26-year-old died from internal bleeding after attorneys said he was beaten to death in a FAMU hazing ritual. Pamela Champion, however, said the word hazing never fit this case.

    "It certainly is much more serious than the word depicts, so we just have to lift that off of the top of what's been done. Then you have the true, true idea of what happened," she said.

    The Champions said they do not hold hatred toward the individuals responsible for their son's death, but those people should be held accountable.


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