Parents of FAMU hazing victim frustrated with pace of investigation

The parents of the Florida A&M University drum major who died following violent hazing rituals said Wednesday they are frustrated more than four months have passed without anyone being charged in their son's death.

"We've been very patient, but we need answers," said Pam Champion, whose son, Robert D. Champion, died Nov. 19 during a band trip to Orlando.

It likely will be at least three more weeks before the State's Attorney's Office in Orlando, which received the case in late March, decides whether to pursue charges. The next grand jury meets next on April 25, according to a state attorney's spokesman.

In the meantime, the Champions say they struggle to deal with the ongoing uncertainty.

"We have not been kept in the loop at all," Pam Champion said.

They can only speculate as to why their son's killers remain free.

Chris Chestnut, attorney for Pam and Robert G. Champion, of DeKalb County, said his investigation finds multiple parties responsible for the Southwest DeKalb High School graduate's death, which was ruled a homicide by the Orange County, Fla., Medical Examiner's office.

The younger Champion suffered "extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder and back," according to the autopsy.

"You can't really say who's to blame," Robert G. Champion said. "They have the who, what, where, when. But we want to know why."

State's Attorney Lawson Lamar has much to consider, with so many other band members likely involved in the hazing. Who to charge, and what to charge them with, must be decided under the glare of the national spotlight.

Chestnut said he will continue to apply pressure on prosecutors to provide some resolution for his clients. "They can't run from it," he said.

Meanwhile, the FAMU band remains on hiatus as university trustees grapple with a deficit of more than $1 million deficit in the school's athletic program. FAMU officials acknowledged Wednesday they are looking at offering other entertainment at football games in case the popular band remains sidelined.

University President James Ammons suspended the band following Champion's death.

--The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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