JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A defendant in the FAMU hazing case told detectives that Robert Champion asked to go through the hazing ritual that led to his death.
The beating was "like a respect thing," said band member and defendant, Jonathan Boyce.
The interview was included in more than 1,500 pages of newly-released evidence in the case. Thirteen people were charged after an investigation into Champion's death. He was a drum major at FAMU. Prosecutors say Champion died after the hazing ritual, "Crossing Bus C," where students walk from the front to the back of the bus backward, while other band members beat the person.
According to Boyce, Champion said he "was fine" after the beating. But then he "started panicking." Champion started having trouble breathing and told Boyce, "he couldn't see but his eyes were wide open."
According to several documents, another defendant in the case, Caleb Jackson, was on the bus, restraining Champion. But when first questioned by detectives, Jackson denied being there. Later in the interview, Jackson admitted that he was on the bus for the first of three hazings that night.
"Halfway through, you know I'll tell you, halfway through I left because it was kind of boring," Jackson told detectives.
But Jackson later confessed that he did restrain Champion.
"If he gonna push at you, you're gonna push at him," said Jackson.
The Champion family's attorney said it's shocking that "a group of his peers could be so malicious, so barbaric" in their beating and murder of Robert Champion. His parents added that their son had always been opposed to hazing.