Defendant says drum major wanted to be hazed

A Florida A&M drum major who died after being hazed on a bus asked to go through the ordeal because it was seen as an honor, a criminal defendant in the case said in a deposition released Wednesday

Twenty-six-year-old Robert Champion had asked all season to go through the hazing ritual, defendant Jonathan Boyce said.

"It's a respect thing, you know," Boyce told detectives. "Well, he was wanting to do it all ... all season."

Champions' parents have said their son was a vocal opponent of the routine hazing in the band.

In an interview earlier this year, Champion's father, Robert Sr., said the reason his son was hazed was because of his opposition to it.

Prosecutors are releasing more than 1,500 pages of evidence against the 13 people charged in Champion's death last year. Eleven defendants are charged with a third-degree felony and two are charged with misdemeanors.

FAMU's famed Marching 100 band was suspended shortly after the incident, and officials have said it will remain sidelined at least through the 2012-2013 school year.

The school also tried to fire band director Julian White. White's dismissal was placed on hold while the criminal investigation unfolded, but he insisted that he did nothing wrong and fought for months to get reinstated. He announced his retirement earlier this month.