Final case related to WSU pledge’s alcohol-related death completed

PULLMAN, Wash. — The last of 15 cases related to Washington State University student Sam Martinez’s death has been completed. 

Martinez, 19, died from alcohol poisoning in November 2019 while attending an event at the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. 

Pullman Police originally ruled out hazing, but later rescinded that statement following witness interviews. The coroner later ruled Martinez died accidentally from acute alcohol intoxication and said 911 was not called until four hours after he died. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 3 former WSU frat members plead guilty to alcohol charges

All 15 defendants in the various cases were members of the ATO fraternity. 

Most recently, Wesley Oswald pleaded guilty to furnishing alcohol to Martinez. He was sentenced to 19 days in jail, a $500 fine, a requirement that he complete a class regarding drugs and alcohol, as well as two years of supervised probation. 

The other 14 defendants were also charged with furnishing alcohol to other pledge members of the ATO fraternity that night. 

A release from the Whitman County Prosecuting Attorney said the event was a “Big/Little reveal night.” Witnesses said it was focused on introducing upperclassmen to their “little brother” or pledge in the fraternity. 

At this event, the upperclassmen were said to introduce the “family drink” to the pledge, which consisted of various types of alcoholic beverages. 

In addition to Oswald, seven other fraternity members charged with furnishing liquor to a minor have pleaded guilty. They were all sentenced to one day in jail, a $500 fine, eight months of probation and the same alcohol and drug-related course. 

The remaining seven defendants have continued their cases to April 2022 and are under contract with the State to complete several requirements. If those are met, their cases will be dismissed at their April court date. If not, they will face an expedited prosecution and sentencing. 

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READ: Coroner: WSU student died four hours before first 911 call