15 WSU fraternity members charged with giving alcohol to minors in pledge’s death
PULLMAN, Wash. — Fifteen members of the Washington State University Alpha Tau Omega fraternity have been criminally charged with furnishing liquor to minors.
A release from the Whitman County Prosecuting Attorney said the charges stem from an investigation into a pledge’s death at the fraternity. Sam Martinez, 19, died from alcohol poisoning in November 2019 while attending a fraternity event.
The ATO house has been closed since Martinez’s death, as the university placed the fraternity in an interim loss-of-recognition status. In the wake of the incident, the Inferfraternity Council implemented a new policy restricting alcohol at some events.
Pullman Police originally said that hazing was not involved in Martinez’s death, but later rescinded that statement after conducting interviews with witnesses. The coroner ruled that Martinez died accidentally from acute alcohol intoxication and said 911 was not called until four hours after he died.
Furnishing liquor to minors is a gross misdemeanor and punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. The 15 defendants will be summoned to appear in the Whitman County District Court.
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