ORLANDO, Florida (WKMG/Tallahassee Democrat)-- A defendant says a Florida A&M drum major who died after being hazed got on a bus where band members were ritually beaten because it was a sign of respect to have survived such an encounter.
Jonathan Boyce says in a deposition released Wednesday that the 26-year-old Robert Champion had asked all season to go through the hazing ritual. Champions' parents have said their son was a vocal opponent of the routine hazing in the band.
The state attorney's office released more than 1,500 pages of evidence and 49 audio files against the 13 people charged in last year's hazing death of Champion. You can read the full evidence report here, courtesy our partners at WKMG Local 6.
Champion died in November following what authorities said was a hazing incident on a bus after FAMU's football game in Orlando. Eleven band members have been charged with felony hazing and two are charged with misdemeanors.
Champion's autopsy report listed his cause of death as a homicide as the result of repeated blows to his body.
FAMU's famed Marching 100 band was suspended shortly after the incident, and officials announced it will remain sidelined at least through the 2012-2013 school year.
Champion's family has filed a civil lawsuit against the bus line company and the bus driver, who they say knew the hazing attacks were occurring.
Third to be hazed
The courtdocuments released Wednesday reveal Champion was the third band member to "cross over" Bus C -- being beaten and kicked by band mates as he tried to make his way to the back of the bus the night he died.
One female band member went first, followed by a male band member.
That comes from an 89-page investigation report from the Orange County Sheriff's Office that wasincluded in Wednesday's document release.
The report identifies 25 people who were on the bus, including 11 charged with the third-degree felony hazing in Champion's death.
The document says Shawn Turner, one of the 11, told police he and another of the defendants, Jonathan Boyce, did not haze Champion and were actually trying to help him reach the back of the bus.
Turner told investigators Boyce had to pull Jessie Baskin off Champion to stop him from kicking. Turner added that he and Caleb Jackson got into a fight because Jackson was holding Champion back. Baskin and Jackson are among those charged.
Jackson, who was already on probation for a battery charge from 2010, was the only one of the 11 that was denied bail.
He told police that he did not hit Champion. He said he simply stood in Champion's way so he could not make it to the back of the bus.