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Source: Charges to be filed in FAMU hazing case

From Rich Phillips, CNN
updated 6:07 PM EDT, Tue May 1, 2012
Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion died in November after a hazing ritual on a band bus.
Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion died in November after a hazing ritual on a band bus.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The prosecutor and sheriff will hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon
  • Charges will be filed against several people, a source says
  • FAMU band member Robert Champion died after he was beaten on a bus in November

(CNN) -- Criminal charges are expected to be filed Wednesday in Orlando, Florida, in the suspected hazing death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, a law enforcement source close to the investigation told CNN.

"We're announcing that charges will be filed against several people involved in the death of Robert Champion," the source said.

State Attorney Lawson Lamar of Orange and Osceola counties, along with the Orange County sheriff, is scheduled to host the press conference Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern, according to a statement from Lamar's office.

Champion was 26 when he died in November.

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Some FAMU band members have said Champion died after taking part in an annual rite of passage called "Crossing Bus C."

The crossing the bus ritual is an initiation process in which pledges attempt to run down the center aisle from the front door of the bus to the back while being punched, kicked and assaulted by senior members, according to band members.

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Champion collapsed in Orlando on the bus, which was carrying members of FAMU's Marching 100 after a November football game that included a halftime performance by the group.

The medical examiner's office ruled his death a homicide and said Champion "collapsed and died within an hour of a hazing incident during which he suffered multiple blunt trauma blows to his body."

An autopsy found "extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder and back," as well as "evidence of crushing of areas of subcutaneous fat," which is the fatty tissue directly under the skin.

The death prompted the FAMU board of trustees to approve a new three-part anti-hazing plan, which includes an independent panel of experts to investigate.

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