Hazing suspects plead not guilty to new charges

Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-05 17:59:00-04

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Former Florida A&M band members are pleading not guilty to increased charges of manslaughter related to the death of drum major Robert Champion.

Defendants entered written pleas Friday to the increased charges.

More than a dozen former FAMU band members were charged last year with hazing, a third-degree felony, from Champion's death. But prosecutors increased the charges to manslaughter last month.

Two former band members already have pleaded no-contest to third-degree felony hazing last year, and a third is expected to enter a plea later this month.

Champion collapsed and died in Orlando in November 2011 after what prosecutors say was a savage beating during a hazing ritual. It happened on a bus parked in a hotel parking lot after FAMU played a rival in football.