Expert Says Robert Champion’s Body Had Muscle Damage Similar to Torture

Forensic expert who reviewed Robert Champion’s autopsy says hazing ritual “destroyed” the 26-year-old's muscles.

Posted: 12/22/2011 12:06 AM EST

A medical expert who reviewed the autopsy report of slain Florida A&M University marching band member Robert Champion said on Wednesday that his muscles were so badly damaged they resembled what is commonly seen in such events as car accidents, prolonged seizures, child abuse and torture.

 

Dr. Howard Oliver, a forensic pathologist who is a former deputy medical examiner in the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, told CNN after reviewing the autopsy findings:

 

"His muscles were beaten so badly that they were destroyed like you would see in a heart attack," Dr. Howard Oliver, a forensic pathologist who is a former deputy medical examiner in the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, told CNN after reviewing the autopsy findings.

 

The damaged muscles leaked out a protein called myoglobin, "and it's too much for the kidneys to process. It causes the kidneys to fail," which results in death, Oliver said.

 

"Most of the time it's in (car) accidents or in people who freeze to death, and you get it in a lot of people who have prolonged seizures or in people who are in extreme physical activity like running in a marathon," Oliver said. "You see it in torture or child abuse and severe burns when the muscles get damaged."

 

The autopsy was released on Dec. 16, the same day police ruled the 26-year-old’s death a homicide by blunt force trauma resulting from hazing. Champion collapsed and died on Nov. 19 after performing with the school’s famed “Marching 100” band at the annual Florida Classic football game in Orlando. The tragedy has brought to light claims by other band members that they too were hazed, in addition to separate investigations by state and local authorities into the band's finances, employees and other people associated with the university.

 

In the wake of Champion's death, Florida's governor sought the suspension of FAMU's president, but the school's board of trustees has rejected that request.

 

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