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FAMU Hazing Suspects Plead Not Guilty To New Charges

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Benjamin McNamee (left) and Jessie Baskin were charged in the hazing death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion.  (Source: Miami-Dade Corrections)

Benjamin McNamee (left) and Jessie Baskin were charged in the hazing death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion. (Source: Miami-Dade Corrections)

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ORLANDO, Fla. (CBSMiami) — The former Florida A&M band members are pleading not guilty to increased charges of manslaughter in the death of drum major Robert Champion.

On Friday, defendants entered written pleas 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.

More Stories About The FAMU Hazing Saga

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.

(TM and © 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and © 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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