Former FAMU marching band member Dante Martin has been sentenced to 77 months (over six years) for the incident in which Champion was killed.
Prosecutors said Martin, 27, organized the initiations that required fellow band members to try to make their way through a pounding gauntlet of fists, drumsticks and mallets from the front of the bus to the back in November 2011 after a FAMU football game.
In court on Friday, a contrite Martin, who was convicted of felony hazing and manslaughter, said openly and to Champion’s parents, that he would take it all back if he could.
“I really don’t know how I could ask you, even say sorry to you,” Martin said. “I know how everything has affected me — emotionally and psychologically — therefore I could never understand the burden of you losing your son.”
Martin’s the first of 15 former FAMU band members charged to receive prison time.
The state of Florida asked the judge to sentence Martin to nine years and three months in prison in the beating death Robert Champion who was 26 at the time of his death.
Trials are set for later this year for the other band members.
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