Last Of 11 Charged With Felony Hazing In FAMU Case Turns Herself In

By: CNN - Posted by Giang Nguyen
By: CNN - Posted by Giang Nguyen
Robert Champion

Robert Champion

(CNN) -- The last of 11 people facing felony hazing charges tied to a Florida A&M University band member's death turned themselves in on Sunday, four days after prosecutors announced the charges, the state said.

Lasherry Codner, 20, is in Orange County jail after reporting to authorities Sunday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a statement. The department had said Friday that it had been in contact with her family in Georgia.

She joins 10 others who have reported to jails throughout Florida after being charged with felony hazing in the death of 26-year-old Robert Champion.

State law provides a prison term of up to six years for a conviction on this charge, Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Lawson Lamar said last week.

The FAMU Marching 100 drum major died after collapsing on a band bus after a November 2011 football game in Orlando, Florida. He died within an hour after being badly beaten, medical examiners reported.

Two others are charged with misdemeanor hazing, which typically carries at most a year-long prison sentence.

Among those facing felony hazing charges is Aaron Golson, who was also charged last December with hazing and felony battery, after another FAMU band member, Bria Hunter, said she had suffered a cracked femur, deep bone bruise and blood clots after being beaten repeatedly on the thighs.

As to Champion's case, the victim's mother, Pam Champion, has said her family is disappointed the suspects didn't face more serious charges. She also accuses authorities of botching the investigation, saying they didn't properly process the bus for evidence and failed to immediately question students who were on board.

Deputy Ginette Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, has defended the investigation.

"I know our deputies questioned everyone available," Rodriguez said. "I can assure you our detectives conducted a thorough and complete investigation, as we do in every case."

Earlier this year, the Champion family filed a negligence lawsuit against the bus company and its driver, and lawyer Chris Chestnut has said the family plans to sue the university as well.

Champion's death brought renewed public scrutiny to hazing, a practice that has gone on for years despite what the Tallahassee university said had been efforts to eradicate the problem.

Some university band members have said Champion died after taking part in an annual rite of passage called "Crossing Bus C," 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 otherwise assaulted by senior members.

An estimated 30 people were on the vehicle at the time.

An autopsy found "extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder and back," as well as "evidence of crushing of areas of subcutaneous fat," medical examiners reported.


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