FAMU Hazing Defendant Says He Protected the Victim

Shawn Turner says he did not attack Robert Champion. 

Posted: 05/31/2013 09:16 AM EDT

(Photo: Courtesy Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office)

FAMU hazing defendant Shawn Turner says he did not attack victim Robert Champion, who died during a marching band ritual in Orlando in 2011.

Turner, 27, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and felony charges and says he protected Champion as he took kicks and punches from a group of band mates during a process called "Crossing Bus C." Turner's lawyer, Carlus Haynes, wants Turner's manslaughter count tossed out. 

"Mr. Turner's action of serving as protector did not in any way cause the injuries that resulted in [Robert Champion's] death," Haynes said, according to the Orlando Sentinel

"By all accounts, Mr. Turner never harmed [Robert Champion]," Haynes said. "He did not convince him to participate in the ritual and he actually helped fend off kicks, punches, strikes..."

Fourteen former FAMU band mates have been charged with manslaughter in Champion's death. Four have pleaded no contest to the charges.

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