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Louisiana State students facing charges after hazing death

We've seen some high-profile stories of fraternity hazing rituals gone horribly wrong in recent years, resulting in the deaths of young men. Earlier this year, a Penn State student died during hazing. In September, a freshman at Louisiana State University died after becoming severely intoxicated during a hazing ritual.

This month, ten people were charged in the death of the 18-year-old LSU student. All but one were charged with misdemeanors. However, one -- a 19-year-old -- is facing a charge of negligent homicide, which is a felony. Multiple witnesses told police that he was "the most aggressive and in charge of the hazing event," according to the warrant.

Eight of those arrested, including the young man facing a felony charge, are still enrolled there. One has left. Another was a former student.

The young man who died, according to the toxicology report, had a blood alcohol content of .496. His cause of death was listed as "acute ethanol intoxication with aspiration." His vomit had gone into his lungs. He was pronounced dead at the Baton Rouge hospital where two students took him.

The incident reportedly occurred during a game called "Bible study." Authorities say that pledges were asked questions and then forced to take a drink when they got a question wrong. Some witnesses said that the pledge who died was having problems with the Greek alphabet. One said that the victim was a particular target because he often showed up late to events.

The fraternity's LSU chapter was closed after the death. After a temporary suspension of all Greek activities, other sororities and fraternities were allowed to resume their activities with limitations. Any student convicted of a hazing-related crime faces expulsion from the university.

When young people get caught up in a group event that results in tragic consequences, it can be difficult for investigators to determine the level of culpability of each person. That's why it's essential for defendants to have their own attorneys to protect their individual rights.

Source: The New York Times, "10 Arrested in Death of L.S.U. Student After Fraternity Drinking Ritual," Stephanie Saul, Oct. 11, 2017

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