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2 arrested, more expected in FAMU hazing case

The Associated Press contributed to this story

Two of the 13 people charged in the hazing death of Florida A&M University marching band member Robert Champion have been arrested and more arrests could be made on Thursday.

Both 23-year-old Caleb Jackson and 24-year-old Rikki Wills were arrested and booked into the Leon County jail on Wednesday afternoon.

In all, 13 people are facing charges and 11 of them face felony charges.  If convicted, they could face up to nearly six years in prison. The other two people will face a misdemeanor charge.

The charges were announced nearly six months after 26-year-old Champion died after being violently hazed aboard a chartered bus following the annual Florida Classic football game between Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman.

Champion was severely beaten by band members in November and had bruises on his chest, arms, shoulder and back, authorities said.

The case has exposed a harsh tradition among marching bands at some colleges around the U.S.

State and local records show that Jackson was serving probation for a felony battery charge. His probation was scheduled to end October 2013.

Leon County jail records show that Jackson has been previously arrested in 2009 by Tallahassee Community College police for battery and resisting without violence. He was arrested again by Tallahassee police in 2010.

Other arrests are expected but authorities have not yet announced the names of the suspects.

Champion's parents are also speaking out about the charges.

The family says they are not happy with the charges and they think the charges are not severe enough.

Not only do they believe the charges are not severe enough, they think even more people should be facing charges in the death.

After the charges were announced on Wednesday, Champion's mother spoke on national television.

"Of course my first reaction was I was very, very disappointed. My husband and I, we expected something more harsh," said Pam Champion.

Champion's parents wanted murder charges against some involved in the death.

"I've all along thought hazing is not fitting, especially what happened to my son. Hazing is not the term at all," said Pam Champion.

State Attorney Lawson Lamar vigorously defended the charges, pointing out that no single person dealt a blow meant to kill.

"This allows us to move forward only to prove two things: Participation in hazing and a death," said Lamar.

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer believes the state attorney found that no single person inflicted a fatal blow.

"It would've been difficult for the state attorney to charge a more serious crime than what they've chosen. In this case, we don't have a single act by an individual leading to the death of this young man," Sheaffer said.

FAMU issued a statement after the charges were filed. The president and the university board chairman said: "We are vigorously working to eradicate hazing from FAMU, and doing everything within our power to ensure an incident like this never happens again."

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