9 charged in hazing death of FSU student, police say

A Tallahassee prosecutor has charged nine men in the death of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledg...

Posted: Jan 17, 2018 4:33 PM
Updated: Jan 17, 2018 4:33 PM

A Tallahassee prosecutor has charged nine men in the death of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge who died after a night of heavy drinking at an off-campus party, according to police.

The men have not yet been arrested, said Tallahassee police spokesman Officer Damon Miller Jr. It is his understanding that all nine were affiliated with the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity that hosted the function, he said.

It is not clear when the nine men, ages 20 to 22, are expected to turn themselves in

A grand jury criticized the "culture of secrecy" from Andrew Coffey's "so-called brothers"

Police said only that investigators were able to develop probable cause against the men in connection to Andrew Coffey's death.

Fraternity pledges who died in 2017

"Investigators intensely employed hours of investigative research, combed through several pieces of physical evidence, and conducted dozens of interviews with the assistance of the Florida State University Police Department," a police statement said.

The men stand charged with college hazing causing injury or death, according to police. They were identified as:

  • Luke Kluttz, 22
  • Clayton M. Muehlstein, 22
  • Brett Birmingham, 20
  • Conner Ravelo, 21
  • Christopher Hamlin, 20
  • Anthony Petagine, 21
  • Anthony Oppenheimer, 21
  • John Ray, 21
  • Kyle Bauer, 21

"This collaborative investigation was critical to finding answers for Andrew Coffey's family and our community. Hopefully, this investigation and its outcome will prevent another tragedy from occurring," Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo said in a statement.

A call to the office of the state attorney for Florida's 2nd Judicial Circuit -- aimed at determining whether the men had retained legal representation and when they are expected to turn themselves in -- was not immediately returned early Wednesday.

Attorney Don Pumphrey, who is representing Kluttz, told CNN his client is expected to turn himself in Wednesday morning.

"The Kluttz family's hearts go out to the Coffey family. It's a tragedy," Pumphrey said.

A celebration of mentorhip?

Coffey, a junior who transferred to FSU to study civil engineering, was discovered without a pulse the morning after a November party. Rather than call 911, the fellow Pi Kappa Phi pledge who found him texted five fraternity brothers, and no one called police for 11 minutes, according to a grand jury presentment last month.

"The brothers, pledges, and (fraternity) officers were more concerned about getting in trouble than they were about trying to save Coffey's life," the grand jury said at the time, recommending prosecutors pursue charges related to hazing and underage alcohol abuse.

Coffey died of acute alcohol poisoning, and at one point in the night had a blood-alcohol level of .558, six times the legal limit to drive, an autopsy and tests on his body fluids showed.

Coffey was attending a November 2 off-campus fraternity function called "Big Brother Night," supposedly celebrating brothers becoming mentors to the pledges. Fraternity members, pledges and two strippers attended the party, according to the grand jury presentment.

Pi Kappa Phi was under a liquor ban -- meaning it could serve only beer and wine -- but pledges were told the ban was lifted for the party and someone gave Coffey a bottle of high-proof bourbon, the presentment alleged.

At least a dozen pledges vomited that night, and Coffey passed out and had to be carried to a couch, prosecutors alleged, saying that no one was "forced" to drink but it was clear pledges risked ostracism if they didn't.

As Coffey lie unconscious on the couch, fraternity members kept drinking and playing pool around him, spurring Coffey's mother to say her son "died alone in a room full of people."

Fraternity unhelpful, police say

The grand jury decried what it called the "overall glib attitude of Andrew Coffey's so-called brothers towards this very serious matter," as well as the fraternity's "culture of secrecy."

Of the 88 people investigators sought to interview, 48 of them -- including seven of the nine members of the fraternity's leadership council -- refused to speak with police, while others appeared to be "speaking off a script," the presentment claimed.

Ohio State suspends fraternity activities

"They presented many of the same answers as each other and volunteered much self-serving information without being asked," it said.

The national organization of Pi Kappa Phi released a statement saying it was "saddened by the details in the grand jury presentment" and asserted that it had directed members of its FSU chapter to "cooperate with all investigative efforts."

School President John Thrasher indefinitely suspended Greek life after Coffey's death.

"I want to send a message that we've got a serious problem and we need to deal with it, and they're part of the solution," Thrasher said. "And the sooner they can come to the table and we can all talk and find those solutions, the sooner this will be lifted."

Coffey had planned to enlist in the Navy after graduation, according to his mother. He wanted "to go out and see the world," she said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 36578

Reported Deaths: 2258
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10188604
Lake3876207
Allen181071
Cass15919
Elkhart158528
St. Joseph135838
Hendricks120478
Hamilton119194
Johnson1125113
Madison60061
Porter56233
Clark53942
Bartholomew53139
LaPorte44824
Howard44236
Tippecanoe4344
Jackson4012
Delaware39741
Shelby39722
Hancock35427
Boone32436
Floyd31941
Vanderburgh2913
Morgan28626
Noble27821
Montgomery24917
Clinton2471
White2399
Decatur23132
Grant22923
Dubois2113
Kosciusko2052
Harrison19622
Marshall1872
Henry18512
Vigo1828
Greene17226
Dearborn17122
Monroe17113
Lawrence17124
Warrick16729
Miami1461
Putnam1427
Jennings1324
Orange13122
LaGrange1282
Scott1263
Franklin1168
Ripley1086
Daviess10416
Carroll952
Wayne906
Steuben902
Wabash812
Newton8010
Fayette797
Jasper741
Jay580
Clay533
Randolph523
Rush513
Fulton511
Washington501
Pulaski500
Jefferson491
Whitley453
DeKalb451
Starke423
Perry390
Huntington382
Sullivan371
Wells350
Owen341
Brown331
Benton320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford250
Adams231
Switzerland220
Spencer221
Fountain222
Gibson202
Parke180
Posey160
Martin140
Warren131
Ohio130
Vermillion100
Union100
Pike60
Unassigned0180

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 125915

Reported Deaths: 5795
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook813443880
Lake8647334
DuPage7997394
Kane6672205
Will5799285
Winnebago246566
McHenry167779
St. Clair126292
Kankakee98954
Kendall83919
Rock Island70325
Champaign6777
Madison62465
Boone49817
DeKalb4508
Sangamon36029
Peoria30111
Jackson30010
Randolph2734
McLean22613
Ogle2253
Stephenson2115
Macon20020
Clinton19017
Union17114
LaSalle16016
Whiteside14913
Coles13817
Iroquois1355
Warren1220
Out of IL1161
Grundy1112
Knox1020
Jefferson10116
Monroe10012
McDonough9113
Unassigned900
Lee821
Tazewell815
Cass760
Williamson753
Henry700
Pulaski580
Marion520
Jasper467
Macoupin462
Adams441
Morgan421
Perry420
Vermilion421
Montgomery411
Livingston362
Christian354
Jo Daviess321
Douglas280
Jersey241
Menard220
Bureau211
Fayette213
Ford211
Woodford212
Washington190
Mason180
Mercer180
Carroll172
Hancock171
Shelby161
Alexander140
Schuyler130
Bond121
Franklin120
Fulton120
Moultrie120
Clark110
Crawford110
Johnson110
Logan110
Piatt110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Wayne91
Effingham81
Henderson80
Massac70
Saline70
Greene60
Wabash60
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland40
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
White20
Calhoun10
Edgar10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Terre Haute
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 64°
Robinson
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 67°
Indianapolis
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 64°
Rockville
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 60°
Casey
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 66°
Brazil
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 64°
Marshall
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 64°
Mostly sunny and hot
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Art honors Hoosier pilot

Image

Protesters gather for change

Image

Free Fishing Weekend

Image

First outdoor market of summer in Terre Haute

Image

Individual diploma presentations

Image

Protesters demand justice for George Floyd

Image

1 injured in ATV accident

Image

Saturday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Umpires

Image

The Salvation Army and the historic origins of National Donut Day

WTHI Events