Nine students charged after death of Ohio University fraternity pledge

Local News

ATHENS, Ohio (WCMH) — Nine people are facing charges related to alleged hazing activities at Ohio University in the fall of 2018.

The investigation came after Ohio University student Collin Lewis Wiant died on November 12, 2018, at a house used in Sigma Pi Fraternity activities. A toxicology report shows that Wiant died of asphyxiation due to nitrous oxide ingestion. At the time of his death, Wiant was a pledge of the Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Pi. 

The following people are facing charges:

  • Joshua Thomas Androsac, 20, of Lewis Center, Ohio, Permitting Drug Abuse, a felony of the fifth degree; Hazing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree; Involuntary Manslaughter, a felony of the first degree; two (2) counts of Trafficking in Harmful Intoxicants, felonies of the fifth degree; and Trafficking in Cocaine, a felony of the fifth degree.
  • Saxon Angell-Perez, of Columbus, Ohio, Permitting Drug Abuse, a felony of the fifth degree; Hazing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree; and Trafficking in Cocaine, a felony of the fifth degree.

    Angell-Perez is scheduled to appear before a judge Nov. 20 for arraignment.
  • Dominic A. Figliola, of Athens, Ohio, Permitting Drug Abuse, a felony of the fifth degree; Hazing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree; Aggravated Trafficking in Drugs, a felony of the fourth degree; and Failure to Comply with Underage Alcohol Laws, an unclassified misdemeanor.  
  • Corbin Michael Gustafson, 22, Reckless Homicide, a felony of the third degree.  
  • Zachary Herskovitz, 22, of Coraopolis, PA, Permitting Drug Abuse, a felony of the fifth degree; Hazing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
  • Cullen Willi McLaughlin, 20, two (2) counts of Trafficking in L.S.D., felonies of the fifth degree. 
  • Elijah Robert Wahib, 22, of Westlake, Ohio, Tampering with Evidence, a felony of the third degree; Permitting Drug Abuse, a felony of the fifth degree; Hazing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree; Assault, a misdemeanor of the first degree; Obstructing Justice, a felony of the fifth degree; and Failure to Comply with Underage Alcohol Laws, an unspecified misdemeanor.

    Wahib is scheduled to appear before a judge Nov. 21 for arraignment.
  • James Dylan Wanke/Silver Serpent, LLC, 25, Involuntary Manslaughter, a felony of the first degree; two (2) counts of trafficking in Harmful Intoxicants, felonies of the fifth degree; Involuntary Manslaughter, a felony of the third degree; and Improperly Dispensing or Distributing Nitrous Oxide, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.  Wanke will appear before Judge Patrick J. Lang for arraignment on November 20. 2019, at 9:15 a.m.

    Wanke is scheduled to appear before a judge Nov. 20 for arraignment.
  • Stephan Brent Lewis, 27, Trafficking in Harmful Intoxicants, a felony of the fifth degree; and Improperly Dispensing or Distributing Nitrous Oxide, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

    Lewis appeared before a judge Nov. 19. He was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled for a jury trial on Dec. 21.

The prosecutor’s office said those who don’t appear for arraignment or fail to make arrangements to appear in the Court of Common Pleas will have nationwide warrants issued for their arrests.

Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said what happened to Wiant was sort of the tip of the iceberg, adding the Athens Police investigation revealed a pattern and the scope of bad behavior.

The university has confirmed that of the nine people charged, eight were Ohio University students at one point. Of those eight, two are currently enrolled at the school.

Most of those charged were connected to the Sigma Pi fraternity which Ohio University expelled this past April.

The prosecutor said the charges go beyond fraternities and sororities.

“It really is about the actions as a whole over the fall semester,” Blackburn said. “You know the death of Mr. Wiant is what started the investigation but the investigation went much deeper. You know somebody’s charges don’t come off as serious. Hazing is only a misdemeanor of the fourth degree, but you know, the hazing is really what got this going in the wrong direction so I would support legislation that would make this a more serious offense but not deals specifically with fraternities and sororities, but deals with groupthink in group behavior.”

Ohio University issued the following statement:

“The tragic death of Collin Wiant was devastating for our community, and it is encouraging to see progress being made in the criminal case. Our thoughts remain with the Wiant family following the heartbreaking loss of their son last November.”

In February, the family of Collin Wiant filed a lawsuit against the fraternity and its international headquarters. The lawsuit says Wiant’s death was caused “extensive hazing” by fraternity members who provided and forced drugs on him, beat him with a belt, punched him, pelted with eggs as well as provided and forced to drink a gallon of alcohol in an hour. 

The lawsuit states that the majority of the hazing took place inside what is known as the “Fun Room” or “Education Room” at the unofficial annex house of the Epsilon Chapter located several blocks away from campus.

In April, Ohio University announced it expelled Sigma Pi from campus.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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