Friday, December 15, 2017
Public safety

FAMU band member from Tampa faces hazing charge

A Florida A&M University marching band drummer from Tampa — who was "president" on the Marching 100's infamous Bus C where Robert Champion was pummeled to death — faces a hazing charge for a separate incident that left a female drummer too woozy to perform.

Dante Martin, 25, is the 14th member of the ensemble to be charged with felony or misdemeanor hazing in the wake of the homicide investigation that led to the suspension of the band.

The previously undisclosed case against Martin is contained in nearly 150 pages of evidence released Wednesday by the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office, which is prosecuting 11 people on felonies and two others on misdemeanors in the death of Champion, 26, a drum major.

Champion died Nov. 19 after a hazing aboard Bus C that was parked outside the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

Martin, who is not charged in Champion's death, referred questions to an attorney.

State Attorney spokeswoman Danielle Tavernier said Martin has not been arrested. He faces a charge of misdemeanor hazing, punishable by up to a year in jail.

According to investigative documents, Martin held the informal title of "president" on Bus C, which transported the percussion section and where Champion fell unconscious after an acceptance ritual known as "Crossing Over." Detectives said the bus president is responsible for arranging hazing events.

Investigators noted in an 89-page summary last week that Martin declined to provide a statement about what happened on Bus C with Champion. At least four people interviewed by detectives identified him as one of the people on the bus when Champion was hazed, but none could say what, if anything, he did.

The misdemeanor charge involves a hazing incident en route to the Citrus Bowl.

Requesta Harden, 21, a drummer from Pompano Beach, told investigators she was riding on Bus C from the band's hotel to the stadium where the band was to perform at a football game between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman University. She said Martin directed her to the back for a rite known as the "hot seat."

"In the hot seat, they put a blanket over my head and I was, like, in the crash position and then they start beating me," Harden told investigators.

Harden, woozy from the beating, said she "blanked out" at the stadium and could not perform.

Comments

Hudson pedestrian killed while crossing U.S. 19

HUDSON — A Hudson man was killed Thursday night while crossing U.S. 19.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 59-year-old Gerald Berube was crossing the northbound lanes of U.S. 19 north of Stahl Drive around 6:40 p.m. when he walked into the path ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Missing Child Alert issued for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

Missing Child Alert issued for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued for a 17-year-old Port St. Lucie girl who was last seen on Thursday.Heaven Flores was last seen near the 1400 block of SW Cashmere Boulevard in Port St. Lucie, according to the Florida Department of Law E...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Bicyclist killed in Seminole Heights crash; portion of E Hillsborough Avenue closed

TAMPA — A bicyclist was killed early Friday morning in a crash in Seminole Heights.Tampa Police say the bicyclist was struck by a car just after 12:15 a.m.Eastbound E Hillsborough Avenue is closed from N Florida Avenue to N Central Avenue while polic...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

TAMPA — Police are seeking a "person of interest" who they believe has information about a Dec. 3 drive-by shooting that killed a 22-year-old man.Police are searching for Anan Motilal, 25. He stands about 5-foot-10 and weighs 180 pounds. He may have ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Pinellas Park officer stuns middle school student with Taser

PINELLAS PARK — A school resource officer stunned a middle school student with a Taser while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, police said.Neither the Pinellas Park officer nor the students involved in the...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

An heir to a local flooring company charged with failing to report the death of a young woman last year has a troubled criminal history and was a source of strife in his family business, according to court records.Robert Butler III, 52, was arrested ...
Published: 12/14/17
Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Jonathon Adams heard a scream, "like a dog getting run over by a car," then saw a minivan come tearing around the corner with a woman he knew dangling out of the passenger side.It was the start of a deadly sequence of events Dec. 8 that ...
Published: 12/14/17
Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

DADE CITY — A 25-year-old man wanted in connection with the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Lakeland turned himself in late Wednesday night after being prompted by his mother, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Edner Dely of Dade Ci...
Published: 12/14/17

Deputies: Fleeing suspect shoots, injures dog as he runs through yards

DOVER — While fleeing from deputies, a man shot a dog inside a fenced yard Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said they were attempting to pull over a vehicle that might have been stolen near Milagro Court and Bl...
Published: 12/14/17

Amtrak train strikes, kills 60-year-old woman in Lakeland

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 60-year-old woman who was hit by an Amtrak train on Thursday.The woman was struck at 12:30 p.m. in the railroad intersection of Highway 92 East and Fairway Avenue in Lakeland, deputies ...
Published: 12/14/17