The fraternity Phi Delta Theta closed its chapter at Louisiana State University after the recent death of one of its pledge members. Ten students were arrested on charges related to the young man's death. Police report that all ten suspects voluntarily turned themselves in, and it is likely that they have begun criminal defense preparations.
The 18-year-old Phi Delta Theta pledge allegedly died after going through a hazing event for the fraternity. Approximately 20 other pledges were also in attendance that night, and they were apparently made to drink heavily when they incorrectly answered a question about the fraternity history or had difficultly saying the Greek alphabet. Although there were many other pledges participating in the hazing, the victim was supposedly singled out and made to drink much larger amounts of stronger liquor.
The individuals arrested in his death are faced with misdemeanor hazing charges, and one of those -- a 19-year-old man -- is also charged with felony negligent homicide. He allegedly disliked the victim, and he was the individual responsible for providing him the higher-proof alcohol. Other fraternity members and pledges reported that they asked him to slow down or stop altogether, but he refused. Fraternity members found the victim lying on a couch the morning after the hazing event and, unsure if he was breathing, called for help. He later died at a Louisiana-area hospital.
Criminal charges as serious as these have the potential to impact the rest of a person's life. This can be a devastating realization for young defendants who still have their entire lives ahead of them. Beginning criminal defense preparations as early on in the process is usually a good idea, as this allows for more careful consideration of all charges and related evidence when deciding how best to proceed.
Source: U.S. News, "Police Arrest 10 in Drinking Death of LSU Fraternity Pledge", Michael Kunzelman, Oct. 12, 2017