WOOD COUNTY — Seven Bowling Green State University students and one non-student face charges in the alleged hazing death of Stone Foltz.
A special Wood County grand jury met Wednesday and issued indictments for involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide and hazing, among other charges.
Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson announced the indictments Thursday.
“I’ve often said this office prosecutes things you would never want to have happen to yourself. Never more so than in this case,” Dobson said at a press conference. “Obviously I want this to be the only and last time that this type of case is prosecuted in Wood County, and please God let it be the last case prosecuted in the United States.”
He recounted the event hosted by Phi Kappa Alpha that reportedly occurred March 4 at an off-campus site.
It is believed the event was for new member initiation. Current members – Big Brothers – were assigned to new members – Little Brothers.
As part of the event, the new members, who were all underage, Dobson said, were provided with a 750-milliliter bottle of high-alcohol-content liquor. They were told the tradition of the chapter was the entire bottle had to be consumed at the event, he said.
“The rest of the event surrounded watching the Littles attempt to do so,” Dobson said.
It is alleged Foltz, a sophomore, consumed nearly all of the contents of his bottle then was taken home by several members, including his Big Brother, Jacob Krinn.
He was left alone in his apartment and was found by his roommate. After observing Foltz for a time and calling for aid from friends, they called 911. When paramedics arrived, the roommate was administering CPR.
Foltz, 20, of Delaware, was taken to Wood County Hospital and then Toledo Hospital, where he died March 7.
His blood alcohol level was 0.35, four times the legal limit, Dobson said, and the autopsy determined he died of alcohol intoxication.
It is alleged several of the fraternity members provided misinformation to the police and disposed of evidence in an effort to protect themselves and other members, Dobson said.
“The result of this event was catastrophic. And I want to say this to the people who were at the event: If you do not even attempt to be part of the solution, you may well be identified as part of the problem,” he said.
“My prosecution is based on the facts of the case, by the legal and factual determinations made by my team, based on the information and evidence obtained by the police departments.”
Those indicted include:
• Krinn, 20, Delaware, on charges of first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, third-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, felonious assault, hazing, failure to comply with underage alcohol laws, and obstructing official business.
The first-degree manslaughter charge reflects the fact that Krinn caused Foltz’s death as a result of committing a felony, Dobson said. His office is alleging that felony was felonious assault.
First-degree manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 11 years in prison.
If Krinn is found guilty on all charges, he faces a maximum 19 years in prison, Dobson said.
• Daylen Dunson, 20, Cleveland, on charges of third-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, hazing, failure to comply with underage alcohol laws, and obstructing official business
• Troy Henricksen, 23, Grove City, on charges of third-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, tampering with evidence, hazing and failing to comply with underage alcohol laws
• Canyon Caldwell, 21, Dublin, on charges of third-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, tampering with evidence, hazing, failing to comply with underage alcohol laws and obstructing official business
• Niall Sweeney, 21, Erie, Pennsylvania, on charges of third-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, hazing, failing to comply with underage alcohol laws and obstructing official business
• Jarrett Prizel, 19, Olean, New York, on charges of third-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, hazing and failing to comply with underage alcohol laws
• Aaron Lehane, 21, Loveland, on charges of tampering with evidence, hazing, failing to comply with underage alcohol laws and obstructing official business. Lehane was not a BGSU student.
• Benjamin Boyers, 21, Sylvania, on charges of hazing and failure to comply with underage alcohol laws.
Dobson said the charges against Boyers, which are all misdemeanors, will be dismissed for the present time as his office focuses on felony charges.
The accused are innocent until proven guilty in court, he said. The multiple felony charges facing Krinn and Henricksen are to give options to a jury.
They are to appear in the courtroom of Wood County Common Pleas Judge Joel Kuhlman on May 19.
The indictments “are a step in the continuing ongoing investigation. There is more evidence to obtain, review and consider. There are more people to talk to and who want to talk to us,” Dobson said.
Hazing was an integral part of this event and there are many more people to identify who were at or involved with the event, Dobson said. He added that those indicted may face additional charges and additional persons may be charged.
Dobson thanked the Bowling Green and BGSU police departments.
Third-degree felony manslaughter alleges that the defendant caused a death by committing or attempting to commit a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison, as do the charges of reckless homicide, tampering with evidence, and obstructing justice.
Felonious assault alleges that the defendant caused serious physical harm to another. It is a second-degree felony which carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison.
The charges of hazing, failing to comply with underage alcohol laws and obstructing official business are all misdemeanors.
Some of the alcohol-related offenses involve providing alcohol to underage persons, while others reference permitting that activity at their residence.
The multiple counts of hazing and failing to comply with underage alcohol laws reflect the allegation that those defendants participated in providing copious amounts of alcohol to Foltz and the other new members.
Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity was expelled from BGSU earlier this month.
Foltz’s parents, Cory and Shari, were at the press conference, which was held at the Wood County Courthouse. In a statement, the family said they appreciated the hard work by authorities.
“We are confident they will make sure justice is served. However, today is just one step in the right direction. Swift action also needs to be taken by government officials and university presidents nationwide to abolish fraternity hazing,” the family said in a statement.
“We are living every parent’s worst nightmare and will not be at peace until fraternity hazing is seen for what it truly is — abuse. It’s unacceptable, and in Stone’s case, it was fatal.
“How many injuries and deaths will it take for people in positions of power to do the right thing? We demand zero tolerance. Anything less will result in additional innocent lives lost and parents like us pleading for change.”
BGSU has engaged outside special counsel for its investigations and hopes to conclude individual student conduct cases this summer.
If students involved elect to proceed with a conduct hearing, a committee, comprised of students, faculty and staff, would review each case, as needed.
Dobson said he told the family it is not his job to make a statement on the culture of university and Greek life.
“It is my job to prosecute this case,” he said. “My hope is already gone because my hope was to never to take on one of these cases. My hope now is to provide as much relief and justice and closure to these folks as I possibly can.”
In a statement, Todd Shelton, chief communication officer for the North American Interfraternity Conference, said that hazing is a betrayal of the fraternal vows to which every member commits and has no place in any organization on or off campus.
“NIC supports criminal penalties for those found responsible for hazing injuries and deaths. The NIC and fraternity community support passage of Collin’s Law in Ohio, and the END ALL Hazing Act and REACH Act in Congress to increase hazing-related criminal penalties and transparency,” Shelton said.