BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) — Seven men pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to various charges connected to the death of a 20-year-year-old university student in Ohio who drank a bottle of alcohol as part of a hazing ritual in March.
The seven entered their pleas in Wood County in northwest Ohio. The charges vary by defendant and include involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, felonious assault, hazing and violating state alcohol laws.
Charges against an eighth man and member of Phi Kappa Alpha fraternity were earlier dismissed. All but one of the defendants was a Bowling Green student at the time. They range in age from 19 to 23 years old.
Stone Foltz, a business major from Delaware, Ohio, was found unconscious by a roommate on March 4 after members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity dropped him off at his apartment.
According to a lawsuit filed last week by Foltz’s parents, his fraternity “big brother” was supposed to spend the night with him to make sure he was alright, the lawsuit said.
“Instead, Stone Foltz was taken from the car into his apartment and left alone on the couch to die,” the complaint said.
His roommate came home and found him facedown on a couch and still breathing, but he soon stopped breathing and his face and ears turned purple and blue, the lawsuit said.
A coroner said Foltz died of fatal ethanol intoxication. His blood-alcohol content was roughly five times Ohio’s legal limit and was likely much higher prior to testing, according to the parents’ attorney. Foltz drank the equivalent of 40 shots, the attorney said.
Bowling Green officials said they found that new members who attended the party in March of this year were blindfolded and taken into a basement while being yelled at and pushed in an attempt to disorient them.
Before the event, fraternity leaders told the pledges to let their professors know they likely would not be in class the next day, the university found.
The national organization for Phi Kappa Alpha placed the Bowling Green chapter on probation for the spring semester in 2020 “but they simply picked up where they left off after probation ended,” the lawsuit said. The university permanently banned the fraternity after Foltz’s death.