Torture charges might replace ambiguous hazing counts

Discussion in 'Pure Bull' started by crummyrummy, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. crummyrummy

    crummyrummy Brew Your Own Beer Lifetime Supporter

    OROVILLE -- Four Chico fraternity members went to court Friday seeking dismissal of charges in the alleged hazing death of a pledge, but walked away possibly facing much more serious consequences.

    Butte County Superior Court Judge Robert Glusman said he had not read a full transcript of the evidence, but a summary of facts contained in the legal motions possibly could support a new charge of torture, which would carry a potential life sentence.

    "U.S. soldiers were charged with torturing Iraqi prisoners for doing far less than what happened in that basement," the judge said, paraphrasing written arguments by the district attorney.

    The four members of now-defunct Chi Tau fraternity, Gabriel John Maestretti, 22, Jerry Ming Lim, 25, Carlos James Devilla Abrille, 22, and John Paul Fickes, 19, are currently facing a maximum of four years in prison charged with involuntary manslaughter and hazing.

    Three other members of the same fraternity, Richard Joseph Hirth, 22, Michael Fernandes, 19, and Trent Stiefvater, 20, are accused only of a single misdemeanor hazing count.

    The four felony suspects are accused of forcing Matthew Carrington, 21, to drink large amounts of water while performing rigorous exercises in a frigid basement of the Chi Tau house in Chico as part of a "hell week" initiation rite Feb. 2.

    The Chico State University student collapsed and died of what an autopsy determined was heart failure due to water intoxication.

    In asking that the criminal charges against the four be dismissed, their attorneys argued that the rogue fraternity was not a "student organization" subject to hazing statues and that two of the defendants were not even attending a college at the time of the fatal initiation.

    "Clearly, being both under the Education Code and under school safety ... (hazing laws) are intended to protect student activity that is affiliated with a public or private education institution, not a private fraternal organization which contains some students," Chico attorney Anthony Cardoza wrote the court in support of the dismissal motions.

    District Attorney Mike Ramsey countered that although not officially recognized by the university, Chi Tau was still a student organization. He noted that the Fourth Street residence was one block from the Chico State campus and surrounded by other fraternities and sororities.

    Moreover, Ramsey asserted the education code specifically bars any "student or other person in attendance" at an educational institution of committing "any act that is likely to cause bodily injury, physical harm or personal degradation or disgrace ... to any fellow student or person attending the institution."

    Ramsey contended the "forced consumption of mass quantities of water," while standing on one leg and juggling a 40-pound water jug, while having a fan blast cold air on the wet pledges in the "frigid, dank" fraternity basement was "clearly dangerous to human life."

    Judge Glusman, who was assigned to independently review the sufficiency of evidence presented by the prosecution at last month's preliminary hearing for the four felony suspects, said a new charge of torture might be brought that would not be dependent on ambiguous hazing laws.

    Glusman added, however, he had only received a transcript of preliminary hearing testimony in the fraternity hazing case Thursday, and was still reading it.

    He continued the pretrial hearing to Aug. 26, directing both sides to brief him on issues raised Friday before he rules on the defendants' motions.

    Outside of court, Ramsey agreed the judge has the authority to amend the criminal complaint by adding a charge of torture if he believes the evidence warrants it. "We considered torture, but since it was a life term we felt hazing was a more appropriate charge," the district attorney explained.

    Dennis Latimer, who represents Abrille, one of the fraternity members accused of manslaughter, reacted with shock, saying the subject of torture was never discussed prior to Friday.

    "I'm surprised," Latimer said of the judge's comments. But he refrained from commenting further until he can research the relevant law. The victim's father, Michael Carrington, also said he was "totally surprised" by Friday's turn of events. However, he, too, declined to comment as to whether he supports filing torture charges against the accused fraternity members until he talks with his own attorney. "I must say I'm very impressed, though, with the judicial system in Chico; everyone seems to have a real sensitivity to the situation," he observed.

  2. seamonster66

    seamonster66 discount dracula

    The torture charge would be too high, too much prison time...but, stupid frat boys, will they keep living out the same cliched existence

    A friend of mine was shot at with a bb gun while he set up for a party while rushing a frat...i didn't really feel sorry for him though
  3. crummyrummy

    crummyrummy Brew Your Own Beer Lifetime Supporter

    well they did thoughtlessly kill a man. And the judge is right, is this any worse that what the soldiers did to them Iraqis? I think the Lawyer should shut the fuck up about dropping the hazing charge.
  4. seamonster66

    seamonster66 discount dracula

    Oh absolutely, I'd say the 4 years in prison should be at the light end of the sentence
  5. crummyrummy

    crummyrummy Brew Your Own Beer Lifetime Supporter

    is there a minimum on torture? What did Rick James get for tying that chick up and branding her with a crack pipe?
  6. seamonster66

    seamonster66 discount dracula

    2 years in Folsom prison...although that woman didn't die.

    Its true though, what is the difference between painfully hazing someone to death, and torturing them to death?
  7. crummyrummy

    crummyrummy Brew Your Own Beer Lifetime Supporter

    being actively enrolled in a legitimate fraternity and university, apparently.
  8. seamonster66

    seamonster66 discount dracula

    Its like the difference between the powder cocaine and crack laws
  9. crummyrummy

    crummyrummy Brew Your Own Beer Lifetime Supporter know at one point powdered cocaine was the the one the "lower classes" people used and was outlawed while it was still ok to put into coca cola and other tonics....

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