Dante Martin, the former Florida A&M student responsible for the death of drum major Robert Champion Jr., was sentenced to over six years in prison for organizing the hazing ritual that killed him in November 2011.
Martin was apologetic to Champion’s family during the sentencing at the Orange County courthouse on Friday. The 26-year-old planned the hazing of Champion on a school bus called “Crossing Bus C.” As Champion walked through the center of the bus, he was kicked and punched by otherbandmates. Champion’s death was later ruled a homicide over the multiple blunt trauma he suffered during the hazing. According to CNN:
In October, Martin was found guilty of manslaughter and felony hazing. On Friday, an Orange County circuit court judge sentenced him to 77 months.
“I honestly am ashamed that I can even remotely be a part or associated with anything that could take the life of a human being,” Martin, who didn’t testify at trial, said in court Friday. “It hurts me. I’m terribly sorry.”
FAMU’s famed marching band, known as the Marching 100, was suspended for the 2012-13 school year after Champion’s death. The college pledged to make reforms and address hazing both on and off campus.
Champion’s parents forgave Martin for his role in their son’s murder.
“I just want to let you know, I forgive you. I don’t hate you at all,” mother Pam Champion said. “And I don’t want you shedding tears for my family because my fight is not over. My fight is not with you.”
Out of the 15 initially arrested for the crime, nine have pleaded guilty to lesser charges, netting them probation and community service.
SOURCE: CNN | VIDEO CREDIT: News Inc.