PULLMAN, Wash. — Three Washington State University fraternity members were sentenced on Friday after they pleaded guilty to supplying liquor to a minor on the same night that 19-year-old freshman Sam Martinez died of alcohol poisoning at an initiation event.
Court documents show Maxwell Rovegno, Cameron Thomas and Nolan Valcik pleaded guilty to one count of furnishing liquor to a minor. Documents show all three men were given one day in jail, eight months of probation, a $1,000 fine with $500 suspended and they must complete alcohol and drug information school. The men were not accused of supplying liquor to Martinez.
Valcik was originally charged with two counts of furnishing liquor to a minor but prosecutors dropped one of the charges. Twelve other members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity also face the same charge.
Martinez, 19, died on Nov. 12, 2019 after attending big/little night, an Alpha Tau Omega pledge event. The Whitman County Coroner ruled his cause of death as "acute alcohol intoxication," otherwise known as alcohol poisoning.
Pullman police said they interviewed more than 70 witnesses throughout their investigation, but Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said authorities did not find enough evidence to support manslaughter charges.
Martinez's parents have also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against WSU and the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity which he was pledging to join. The fraternity was suspended by both its national organization and the university after Martinez's death.
The family sent out a statement following the announcement of charges being filed saying, “It is not justice for us. We live every day with the loss of our Sam, and it's just unbearable. These charges are very minor charges against these 15 people, and none of it can bring Sam back."
KREM 2 reached out to WSU regarding the sentencing, but due to ongoing litigation they were unable to provide a statement.