Whitman County Prosecutor Files Charges In 2019 Alcohol Death Of WSU Fraternity Member
BY AP & NWPB STAFF
The Whitman County prosecutor has filed criminal charges against 15 current or former members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at Washington State University following the death of a student from alcohol poisoning.
The charges filed Wednesday are related to the death of 19-year-old WSU freshman Samuel Martinez of Bellevue, Washington.
Martinez died of acute alcohol intoxication on Nov. 12, 2019 after attending a fraternity event. The Whitman County Coroner ruled that the death was accidental.
The men are charged with supplying liquor to one or more pledges at the fraternity event that was part of an initiation process, Prosecuting Attorney Denis P. Tracy said. Furnishing liquor to minors is a gross misdemeanor in Washington state punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
In 2020, Martinez’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity which he was pledging to join.
Martinez’s family previously sued the fraternity and university.
The national Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, based in Indianapolis, and WSU’s Interfraternity Council suspended the WSU chapter’s charter following the incident. ATO is not allowed to formally operate at WSU until 2026.
NOTE: WSU holds the broadcast license of Northwest Public Broadcasting, though NWPB is editorially independent.
Copyright 2020 Associated Press & NWPB News
Sam Martinez. Courtesy of Jolayne Houtz/Martinez family Listen Read A Washington state bill to increase transparency, education and intervention for hazing at colleges and universities will soon be on its… Continue Reading Sam’s Law Passes In WA Legislature
Police recommend hazing charges for two WSU students, including an Alpha Tau Omega fraternity member who acted as a “big brother” to Samuel Martinez, who died in November 2019. Martinez’s family previously sued the fraternity and university. Continue Reading Pullman Police Recommend Misdemeanor Charges In 2019 Alcohol-Related Death Of WSU Student
Pullman Police are investigating after a Washington State University student died at a fraternity Tuesday morning. The investigation is ongoing, but officials believe alcohol was a factor. Police identified the student late Tuesday night as Samuel Martinez of Bellevue. Continue Reading Pullman Police Identify 19-Year-Old WSU Student Who Died At Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity