Former fraternity members charged in connection with 2019 death of teen pledge
WHITMAN COUNTY, Washington - Fifteen former members of a Washington State University fraternity were charged Wednesday in connection with the alcohol-poisoning death of a 19-year-old pledge that occurred two years ago, according to ABC News.
Sam Martinez died in November of 2019 after participating in an event that was part of an initiation process at Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
The teen was found dead at the Alpha Tau Omega house in Pullman, Washington. The Whitman County Corner discovered that the freshman died at about 4:30 a.m., and police said Martinez's classmates called 911 four hours later, around 8:30 a.m., saying Martinez was "unconscious and not breathing."
The Whitman County coroner determined that Martinez's death was a result of acute alcohol poisoning and that the cause of death was accidental.
His blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.372 after his death, according to his family.
Whitman County prosecutors charged the former members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity with providing one or more underage individuals with liquor, which is a gross misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to a year and a $5,000 fine.
The fifteen will be summoned to appear in the Whitman County District Court at a date that is currently unknown.
The names of the former fraternity members have not been released by the Whitman County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
Local news outlets report that the fraternity house where Martinez died has since been closed as the university placed it on an interim loss-of-recognition status.
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