The family of the Florida A&M drum major who prosecutors say was the victim of fatal hazing activity said today the famed Marching 100 band should be disbanded.
Lawyer Chris Chestnut, at a news conference in Atlanta, said the family of Robert Champion believes someone should be charged with murder in his death. Champion, 26, was fatally beaten on a band bus in Orlando last November. Tuesday, 13 students were charged with hazing crimes, 11 of them with felony charges.
"Are we surprised? No. Are we disappointed? Yes," Chestnut said of the charges. "Obviously, someone should have been charged with murder. Robert Champion has a life sentence."
Chestnut said prosecutors were hamstrung because the investigation "was botched from Day 1." He said the students should not have been allowed to leave Orlando to return to their school in Tallahassee until a thorough probe took place.
"Because there wasn't an aggressive investigation initially, the case has been compromised," he said. "But there has to be accountability, otherwise it will happen again."
Chesnut said school alumni were involved in a coverup, telling students what to say to investigators to downplay criminal activity.
"It shows how deep the hazing culture is at the school," he said. "We gotta stop the hazing, we gotta stop it all."
Robert Champion's mother, Pam, said disbanding the marching band is the only way to stop the hazing. "You've got to clean house. That's the only thing," she said.