The parents of the drum major who died after the hazing incident last fall are denying reports their son begged to take part in the ritual.
That newly released evidence describes in detail the injuries and trauma to the body of Florida A & M Drum Major Robert Champion. it also includes the recorded statements of one of those charged in connection with his death.
"What is the purpose of this tradition?” detectives asked defendant Jonathan Boyce. “It's a respect thing,” Boyce replied.
Just days after Champion died from injuries suffered during the hazing ritual, detectives interviewed one of the members of the marching band now charged in connection with his death.
Boyce told detectives Champion "begged" to take part in the ritual, which involved being punched and beaten while walking down the aisle of a team bus.
“Did anyone try to talk him out of it?” Boyce was asked. “He was wanting to do it. He wanted to do it all season -- all season,” Boyce replied.
“So he was begging you all season?" "Yes."
According to the autopsy, Champion died of "blunt force trauma sustained during a hazing incident." It says he suffered extensive hemorrhaging to his face and body.
Today in Atlanta, Champion's parents angrily denied their son somehow asked for the beating.
"It doesn't sound like my son at all,” Pam Champion told reporters.
“This is not something my son would agree to do. You have to consider the source of the information,” she said.
"He was against hazing, and when you stand up for what's right and go against the grain, it may have cost him his life,” says Robert Champion Sr.
USF Psychologist Lee Dorpfeld specializes in treating students under stress on the college campus and says while he has no idea what happened on that bus he does understand the intense pressure Champion may have been under to fit in.
“What you're looking at is finally being accepted as a full member -- a sense of belonging. They need to belong at that deep of level that sometimes us adults lot at and say where is the common sense. Why didn't you say no? But the greater sense of belonging makes them do things they might not otherwise do,” Dorpfeld says.
A total of 13 people are charged in connection to Champion's death. Eleven are charged with a third-degree felony, two with misdemeanors.
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