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Lawsuit in FAMU death reveals details of hazing

ORLANDO — The parents of a Florida A&M band member who died after being hazed filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday against the owner and driver of the charter bus where the ritual took place, and revealed new details about what might have happened the night Robert Champion died.

The suit describes two types of hazing that occurred before Champion died. During the first, pledges of a band clique known as “Bus C” run from the front to the back of the bus while other band members slap, kick and hit them, the lawsuit said. A pledge who falls can be stomped and dragged to the front of the bus to run again.

In another ritual known as “the hot seat,” a pillow case was placed over the pledge’s nose and mouth while the pledge was forced to answer questions. If a pledge got a right answer, the pillow case was removed briefly; a pledge with a wrong answer was given another question without a chance to take a breath, the lawsuit said.

A fellow pledge who was hazed with Champion said band members on the bus treated Champion more brutally than others, according to the lawsuit.

An attorney for the Champion family said he doesn’t know exactly why the victim was on the bus. Champion was a drum major, a leader in the band, and had been a vocal opponent of hazing, attorney Chris Chestnut said.

Champion endured blunt trauma blows and he died from shock caused by severe bleeding, authorities said. Detectives are investigating the death as a homicide.


$336.4M lottery ticket sold at supermarket

CRANSTON — The winning ticket in Saturday’s $336.4 million Powerball jackpot was sold at a Stop & Shop supermarket in Newport, but no one has come forward yet to claim the prize, Rhode Island lottery officials said Monday.

“It’s great for the industry, it’s great for Powerball and it’s great for Rhode Island,” said Gerald S. Aubin, director of the state’s lottery.

The lump sum cash payout will be $210 million, which is the highest ever for Powerball, officials said. The jackpot was the third-largest in Powerball history and the largest ever won in Rhode Island, officials said.

The jackpot is the sixth-largest in U.S. history, lottery spokeswoman Melissa Juhnowski said. The top jackpot was a $390 million Mega Millions prize won in March 2007, she said.

The winning numbers are 1-10-37-52-57, Powerball 11. The winning ticket was among three tickets with random numbers purchased on a $9 wager, officials said.


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