2:06 PM PDT, April 30, 2021
Eight current and former students have been charged in connection to the alleged hazing death of a 20-year-old college student at Bowling Green State University earlier this year, CBS News reported.
Stone Foltz’s blood-alcohol level was .35, which is more than four times the legal limit, and died from alcohol poisoning following a Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity event on March 4, according to the Wood County prosecuting attorney Paul Dobson.
His roommates found him unresponsive at their apartment. Stone, who was on life support, died three days later at the hospital.
A grand jury indictment charged six of the men with involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, and evidence tampering, The Washington Post reported.
“The result of this event was catastrophic,” Dobson said at the Thursday news conference, the Post reported. “… This is the beginning of the criminal process for these men.”
Foltz, who, along with other new members, was allegedly required to attend the party, held at an off-campus house as part of the initiation process into the fraternity chapter, Dobson said. During the initiation members of the fraternity reveal who would be paired with pledges as their “bigs,” an honorary big brother, little brother pairing often used in fraternities to help guide newer members.
Jacob Krinn, 20, was assigned to be Foltz’s big brother, the prosecutor said.
The new members, almost all underage, were given 750 ml of liquor and were told that the tradition of the chapter was to drink the entire bottle, Dobson said.
“It is alleged that Stone Foltz consumed all or nearly all of the contents of his bottle and then was taken home by several members, including his big brother Jacob Krinn,” Dobson said. “He was left there alone.”
“We believe and allege that hazing was an integral part of this event,” Dobson said, NBC News reported.
Dobson also alleged that several fraternity members intentionally misled investigators and disposed of evidence to protect themselves and the chapter, according to NBC.
Dobson said that Krinn, 20, of Delaware, Ohio, faces the most severe charge of first-degree manslaughter and a charge of reckless homicide.
Krinn was the only member of the group to be charged with first-degree manslaughter, a charge that alleges the defendant caused death by committing or attempting to commit a felony — in this case, a felonious assault, for which he was also charged. If found guilty, Krinn’s first-degree manslaughter charge carries a maximum penalty of 11 years in prison, and his felonious assault charge carries a maximum of 8 years, CBS News reported.
Dobson said Krinn was “more directly involved in the incident” than other defendants, partially due to the allegation that he took Foltz home, CBS reported.
The other defendants, Daylen Dunson, 20; Canyon Caldwell, 21; Troy Henricksen, 23; Niall Sweeney, 21; and Jarrett Prizel, 19, face different combinations of lesser charges, including third-degree felony manslaughter, reckless homicide, tampering with evidence, and obstructing justice — each of which carry maximum penalties of three years in prison, according to CBS.
Cory and Shari Foltz, Stone Foltz’s parents, said they were thankful for the charges but added they will continue to push universities to abolish hazing, The Washington Post reported.
According to the Post, Foltz did not want to go to the party at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity chapter on March 4. In text messages with his mother, Shari Foltz, he said the event revolved around a “drinking ritual,” she told the Columbus Dispatch last month. His mother told him not to go, but Foltz said that he wouldn’t be allowed in the fraternity if he didn’t participate, according to The Washington Post.
“We are living every parent’s worst nightmare and will not be at peace until fraternity hazing is seen for what it truly is — abuse,” they said in a statement to The Washington Post. “It’s unacceptable, and in Stone’s case, it was fatal. How many injuries and deaths will it take for people in positions of power to do the right thing?”
Foltz, who was from Delaware County, Ohio, was a sophomore studying business, according to Bowling Green State University.
After the charges were announced, the school said in a statement, “Bowling Green State University is appreciative of the hard work and diligence done by the prosecutor and a grand jury to seek justice and hold those accountable in the tragic death of student Stone Foltz,” CBS News reported.
A lawyer for one of the men charged, Troy Hendricksen, 23, told NBC News that the facts of the case will exonerate his client. Representatives for the other seven men did not respond to requests for comment, the outlet reported.
The university expelled the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity in early April charging in with violating six codes of conduct rules, The Associated Press reported.
The Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity said in a statement on Thursday that it supports the investigation and “holding those accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” according to the AP.
The defendants are not currently in custody, and have instead been served a summons to appear in court on May 19, CBS reported.
Less than two weeks before Foltz’s tragic death Adam Oakes, a 19-year-old freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University, also died in a hazing incident following a Delta Chi fraternity party, The Post reported.
According to his obituary, Foltz gave the gift of life as an organ and tissue donor. Memorial contributions can be made in memory to www.lifeconnection.org , 3661 Briarfield Blvd, Suite 105, Maumee, Ohio 43537, or to the GoFundMe account gofundme.com/f/stone-foltz-memorial-fund the family established in his honor.