ORLANDO, Fla. -- Several former Florida A&M band members are pleading not guilty to increased charges of manslaughter related to the death of drum major Robert Champion.
Defendants entered written pleas Friday to the more serious charges. More than a dozen former FAMU band members were charged last year with hazing, a third-degree felony, in Champion's death.
But prosecutors upped the charges to manslaughter last month. Two former band members last year pleaded no-contest to third-degree felony hazing, 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.