Attorneys for the nine members of a Florida State University fraternity charged in the hazing death of a pledge, Andrew Coffey, 20, from Pompano Beach are currently in negotiations over a plea deal.
According to the “Tallahassee Democrat,” State Attorney Jack Campbell is putting two different options on the table…two misdemeanor hazing charges with jail time or a felony charge with no time behind bars.
Under the terms of one agreement, the nine defendants could plead guilty to two counts of misdemeanor hazing with adjudication withheld, spend 60 days in the Leon County jail followed by two years of probation, be required to testify or publicly speak about Coffey’s death at every forum requested, take a hazing awareness class, be prohibited from alcohol with random testing, and provide a written or verbal apology to the Coffey family.
The second option is the same except defendants would be able to plead guilty to one count of felony hazing and complete 60 days in the Leon County Sheriff’s Jail Workcamp instead of serving jail time.
“I think this allows your clients to both accept responsibility and avoid lifelong consequences,” Campbell wrote. “Ultimately, the plea also serves the greater goal of changing a culture that condones hazing and binge drinking.”
Coffey died last November of acute alcohol poisoning after downing a bottle of bourbon at an off-campus party.
Investigators say the alcohol was given to Coffey by one of the frat members and was purchased with a fake ID.
The nine Pi Kappa Phi members facing charges of hazing causing injury or death, who are all between the ages of 22 and 20, are: Kyle J. Bauer, Brett A. Birmingham, Christopher M. Hamlin, Luke E. Kluttz, Clayton M. Muehlstein, Anthony Oppenheimer, Anthony Petagine, Conner R. Ravelo and John B. Ray.
Campbell filed the charges in January after the case was reviewed by two grand juries.
After Coffey’s death FSU’s president suspended Greek life and alcohol on campus.