Portsmouth, Va. – Hundreds of people came together Saturday to celebrate the life of a Virginia State University student who died during a hazing ritual.
The funeral for Marvell Edmondson was held in Portsmouth.
Edmondson, a freshman at VSU, along with fellow student Jauwan Holmes from Williamsburg, drowned in the Appomattox River during a hazing ritual for the group Men of Honor.
Edmondson’s body was found in the river Tuesday.
More than 500 of his friends and family honored him at Saint Mark Missionary Baptist Church.
“This is all the people that really loves him, and who will really miss him, and I don’t want anybody to leave ever without telling someone that they love them,” said Jacque Grooms, a family friend.
Several of his friends wore the number 5 on their shirts – it was Edmondson’s football number.
His former Churchland high school football coach spoke about him as well, saying he had dreams of one day joining the NFL.
“I feel like I’ve lost my own child. He was a wonderful person. He was very respectful and he was everything you would want in a child,” said another family friend, Edie Gunter.
Four people are facing hazing-related charges in connection to the deaths, but so far police have only arrested three of the men.
In Virginia, hazing is considered a misdemeanor and the maximum punishment is one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.