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13 People Charged in Fatal Hazing of Band Member at Florida A&M U.

Florida prosecutors announced charges on Wednesday against 13 people they said were involved in the hazing death last year of Robert Champion, a Florida A&M University student and drum major in the institution’s marching band. Mr. Champion was beaten as part of a hazing ritual connected with the band, the authorities said, and his death, on November 19, cast a spotlight on what critics said was the university’s widespread tolerance of hazing in the band over many years. At about the time Mr. Champion died, another band member was hospitalized with a broken leg that stemmed from a hazing-related beating, and last week two faculty members resigned after being told they would be fired for attending a 2010 hazing but doing nothing to stop it.

Eleven of the 13 people charged on Wednesday will face the more-severe charge of felony hazing, The New York Times reported. The others will face misdemeanor-hazing charges. One of those charged is already in custody, and the others are being sought by the authorities. For that reason, the names of the defendants were not immediately released, said the Florida state attorney supervising the prosecution, Lawson Lamar, at a news conference. He also said evidence in the case would not support the more-serious charges of manslaughter or murder. The Associated Press reported that the felony-hazing charge carries a possible sentence of nearly six years in prison.

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