ATHENS, Ohio (AP) — Three Ohio University students pleaded guilty Thursday to charges related to the investigation into fraternity hazing that led to a student’s death.
Dominic Figliola, 21, of Athens, pleaded guilty to two felony drug possession counts and to misdemeanor charges of hazing and violating underage alcohol laws. Cullen McLaughlin, 20, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of LSD possession. Zachary Herskovitz, 22, of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to permitting drug abuse.
They must complete diversion programs to avoid jail.
Six others face charges that grew out of the 2018 death of Collin Wiant, who was found dead after ingesting nitrous oxide. Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn has said the indictments were meant to hold those accountable for roles connected to Wiant’s death, but also to send a message that there’s no tolerance for hazing.
Wiant’s parents, Wade and Kathleen, drove from their Dublin home to be at the hearings and make a statement in court, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
“Losing a child as a parent is one of the most crushing things you can go through,” Wade Wiant said. “The grief and the loss is something you go through every day.”
Figliola was also placed on nonreporting probation for the hazing charge.
McLaughlin, of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, was with Wiant the night he died, The Dispatch reported.
Blackburn, the prosecutor, said both have agreed to cooperate with prosecutors on the remaining cases against Sigma Pi members.
Figliola and McLaughlin declined to speak during their hearings, and their attorneys also declined to comment. A message seeking comment was left with Herskovitz’s attorney.
University officials launched an investigation after Wiant’s death and later expelled the fraternity permanently from campus.
A coroner ruled Wiant died of asphyxiation due to nitrous oxide ingestion.
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Source: The Village Reporter