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4 Fraternity Members Plead Guilty in Student's Death

October 30, 2005|From Associated Press

OROVILLE, Calif. — Four fraternity members pleaded guilty in the death last February of a Cal State Chico student who was ordered to drink large amounts of water as part of a fraternity initiation rite.

The most serious plea of involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor hazing was entered by Gabriel Maestretti, 22, who faces a year in jail and five years' probation, according to the Butte County district attorney.

John Paul Fickes, 20, and Jerry Lim, 25, each pleaded guilty to being an accessory to manslaughter and to misdemeanor hazing, while Carlos Devilla Abrille, 22, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor hazing.

Fickes and Lim will serve six months in jail and five years' probation. Abrille was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years' probation.

The pleas close a case that began with the death of Matthew Carrington, 21, of Pleasant Hill, Calif., who died from cardiac dysrhythmia caused by water intoxication. Prosecutors said Carrington died Feb. 2 after he and another pledge, Michael Quintana, were ordered to drink and douse themselves with water from five-gallon jugs as fans blasted them with cold air in the basement of Chi Tau fraternity.

The president at Chico State banned alcohol and hazing at fraternities and sororities after the incident. The new policy banned all Chico chapters from recruiting pledges during the current semester so they could incorporate the new rules.

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