ORLANDO, FLA. -- An October 8th trial date was set this morning during an arraignment hearing in Orlando in the felony hazing case against 11 former members of the Florida A&M University marching band in the beating death of drum major Robert Champion.
However, defense attorneys say they doubt the trial will begin until next year because of the number of defendants and witnesses to depose and the sheer complexity of the case.
Champion was allegedly "pummeled to death" during a violent hazing ritual on a chartered band bus after the Florida Classic football game in Orlando last November.
The iconic band has been suspended while the university tries to rid the ensemble of an apparently deeply inbedded culture of hazing that led to the tragedy.
Only defendant Shawn Turner was in court because he had not hired an attorney. He was appointed a public defender. Most of the other defendants waived their appearances.