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FAMU Hazing Trial Underway in Orlando


The trial of a former Florida A&M band member charged with hazing in the death of drum major Robert Champion is underway in Orlando. Opening arguments are expected to begin Tuesday.

Dante Martin pleaded not guilty in the death of Champion, but prosecutors say a band hazing ritual was responsible for his death. The trial is expected to last about one week. Some jurors were excused for medical reasons, midterm exams and another for pre-planned vacations.

Judge Roche delayed the trial for three other defendants. Their attorneys asked for a delay to interview more witnesses after new charges were filed by State Attorney Jeff Ashton.

Champion died after being beaten on board a bus in Orlando in November 2011. His death led to a year-long suspension of FAMU’s band.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program.

Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration.