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College Band Hazing Trial to Start Later This Year

On behalf of Oldham & Smith posted in Premises Liability on Thursday, June 21, 2012

Eleven members of the Florida A&M University marching band who have been criminally charged with causing the hazing death of a drum major will likely see the trial begin later this year. The incident apparently happened while the band was traveling on a bus to attend a college football game being held on the premises of a school in Orlando. The death occurred in November 2011.

The incident led to criticism of the university’s administration, which was accused of being aware of the hazing but failing to take any remedial measures to end it. The school reacted by first suspending the band from playing, and then deciding to have it sit out the coming academic year.

The drum major is said to have died from soft tissue damage and hemorrhages caused by blunt trauma. Extensive contusions were found on his chest, shoulder, and back. He allegedly was punched and kicked by other band members after he entered a darkened bus for a hazing initiation known as “crossing over,” which some claimed all band members were subjected to. In any event, prosecutors say, he sustained fatal blows to his body. Witnesses described seeing him vomiting after the hazing.

Some of the band members are charged with felonies, which could result in up to six years in prison. The victim’s death was ruled a homicide. Some said that there was a conspiracy after the fact to cover up the hazing incident.

As many as 85 witnesses may be called to testify at the trial in October, so there are a lot of interviews to be conducted. An attorney for one of the students predicted this may delay the start of the trial until next year.

Source: Huffington Post, “Arraignment set for FAMU hazing death suspects,” Mike Schneider, June 14, 2012

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