5 Frat Brothers Face Murder Charges After Freshman's Hazing Death
Five frat brothers from Baruch College face murder charges after a freshman died during a hazing incident two years ago, police said.
Chun Michael Deng, 19, went on a weekend trip to a rented house in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania with Pi Delta Psi in 2013.
While there, he was allegedly forced to carry a backpack filled with sand across a snow-covered field while blindfolded and while fraternity members tackled him, cops said.
"The ritual was brutal," police said in a statement on Monday. "Deng was subjected to repeated blunt force trauma which was applied to three different organ systems of the body to include the head, torso and thighs."
Deng was knocked unconscious and it took the frat members more than an hour to get help. The medical examiner said that the time "significantly contributed" to his death.
A grand jury has now recommended the third-degree murder charges - which don't involve an intent to kill - against the Pi Delta Psi fraternity members. If convicted, they could get a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Thirty-two other fraternity members were charged with assault, hazing and criminal conspiracy.
Police and prosecutors are expected to announce more details at a press conference on Tuesday morning.
Michael's family said in a statement: "Michael was a wonderful, beloved young man, and, in his honor, the family will also continue pursuing its wrongful-death case against the fraternity to cause it and other fraternities to change so that other parents will be spared the loss of a precious child."
After his death, Baruch suspended the college's Pi Delta Psi chapter as it conducted an internal investigation. The fraternity has been prohibited from holding pledging or rush activities for three years.
An attorney representing one of the frat brothers said charging all the members is "not justified nor provable."
"It is regrettable that the DA and the Grand Jury made no distinction as to the individual culpability of each of the young man who was present," the lawyer said.
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