Manslaughter charges not being suggested in WSU fraternity death

Hazing not a factor in WSU student’s death, Pullman Police say
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Samuel Martinez passed away at the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at Washington State University. 

PULLMAN, Wash. — Charges are being considered for seven men believed to be associated with the 2019 death of a Washington State University student at the fraternity he hoped to join, Pullman Radio reports.  

Samuel Martinez was just 19 years old when he died on Nov. 12 of acute alcohol intoxication at Alpha Tau Omega. The Whitman County Coroner ruled that his death was accidental, but Martinez’s family is suing the fraternity, university, and others in King County Superior Court for what they believe was a series of hazing that led to the night he died. 

READ: Family of teen who died at WSU fraternity files lawsuit 

The Pullman Police Department has since released its investigation into Martinez’s death, according to Pullman Radio. 

That night, Martinez was attending a “Big/Little” event at the Alpha Tau Omega live out across the street and drank heavily, the investigation found. Fellow pledges attempted to get Martinez to throw up, and he was eventually carried back to the ATO house, where he was left on a couch. The coroner determined Martinez died four hours before paramedics were called. 

Police are requesting seven men associated with the ATO house be charged with misdemeanors for allegedly being involved with Martinez’s death, according to Pullman Radio. 

While the charges include counts of hazing and furnishing liquor to minors, police said the hazing count cannot be pursued because of a one-year statute for limitations in Washington on that charge. 

“I wish we could have completed this investigation sooner, we just were not able to with the number of witnesses and the logistics involved,” said Pullman Police Chief Jenkins. 

The Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office is now in the process of determining charges. 

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