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Three Washington State frat members get probation in alcohol-related demise of freshman

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Three former members of a fraternity on the Washington State College campus had been sentenced final week to eight months of supervised probation for the demise of a 19-year-old freshman who died after consuming a considerable amount of liquor.  

Maxwell Rovegno, Cameron Thomas, and Nolan Valcik every pleaded responsible to 1 rely of furnishing liquor to Sam Martinez throughout a November 2019 Alpha Tau Omega fraternity chapter occasion. The Whitman County Medical Examiner dominated Martinez’s demise an accident by alcohol. 

The three defendants had been every ordered to pay $1,000 in fines, with $500 suspended, in keeping with court docket paperwork. In whole, 15 individuals had been charged within the case. Different defendants have been granted continuances till March 2022. 


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Sam Martinez, 19, died after consuming a considerable amount of alcohol throughout a 2019 fraternity occasion on the Washington State College campus, a wrongful demise lawsuit claims. 
(Sam Martinez)

In a Fb submit, Martinez’s mom, Jolayne Houtz, stated she learn an announcement in court docket through the sentencing. 

“On Nov. 12, 2019, Bellevue Police knocked on our entrance door and spoke the phrases which might be each mother or father’s worst nightmare: The one you love son is {dead}. We sank to our knees on the ground, and we wailed and screamed so lengthy we grew hoarse. We may barely breathe from the ache of it,” the assertion stated. 

“You known as yourselves his brothers. You stated you’ll have his again. As a substitute, you turned your backs on him when he wanted you most. If simply one in all you had made the decision that evening for assist, Sam can be with us at the moment,” Houtz continued. “We consider a few of you could know way more than you could have shared with investigators about what occurred that evening. A few of you could even nonetheless be protecting up within the identify of your so-called brotherhood.”

Houtz and Hector Martinez, Sam’s father, have filed a wrongful demise lawsuit in opposition to the college and the fraternity, which was suspended on the WSU campus till 2026. 

Martinez misplaced consciousness inside a number of hours of consuming a half-gallon of rum on Nov.11, 2019 however emergency medical personnel weren’t contacted till the subsequent morning “when it was far too late to avoid wasting his life,” the lawsuit states. 


The go well with accused the fraternity of conducting hazing rituals, together with forcing pledges to eat uncooked onions. One other exercise known as the “Blackout Date Sprint” included allegedly handcuffing pledges from the fraternity and a sorority and locking them in a room. 

The keys to the cuffs had been on the backside of a fifth of alcohol and the pair may solely be freed as soon as they consumed the bottle, the go well with says. 

The Related Press contributed to this report. 

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