Apr 17, 2018, 4:17 AM ET

5 plead guilty in Florida State University student's hazing death

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Five Pi Kappa Phi fraternity brothers entered guilty pleas on Monday in connection with the November hazing death of a 20-year-old Florida State University student.

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The men, all in their early 20s, pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor hazing in the case of Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi fraternity pledge who died of alcohol poisoning on Nov. 3. In total, nine fraternity members were charged in the case. The four men who did not plead guilty on Monday are scheduled to go on trial for felony hazing charges in June, according to ABC affiliate WCJB.

Conner Ravelo, Coffey's big brother in the fraternity, was the first to enter a plea on Monday, according to courtroom video. He was also the only defendant of the five who apologized to Coffey’s parents in the courtroom, the footage showed.

"I know that my words may not mean much and you may never forgive me, but they're words I need to say and words you need to hear. I'm sorry for not thinking. I'm sorry for not acting the way I was raised to act. I blindly did the same thing that I went through without thinking about the dangers," Ravelo said. "I recognize that what happened to Andrew could have happened to me or someone else and it wasn't a matter of if, but when.

“I can make a promise to you that moving forward I will be a part of the solution and not part of the problem,” he added.

PHOTO: Kyle Bauer, Brett Birmingham, Christopher Hamlin, Conner Ravelo and John Ray pleaded guilty on Monday in the hazing death of Andrew Coffey.WCJB
Kyle Bauer, Brett Birmingham, Christopher Hamlin, Conner Ravelo and John Ray pleaded guilty on Monday in the hazing death of Andrew Coffey.

He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, half the time sentenced to the four other defendants, due to his cooperation in the case. The others -- Kyle Bauer, Brett Birmingham, Christopher Hamlin and John Ray -- were sentenced to 60 days in jail each.

The men will be on probation for the next two years, which requires them to attend anti-hazing classes, write an apology letter to the Coffey family and speak about hazing when asked to do so. They must also abstain from alcohol and submit to random drug tests.

Coffey, an FSU junior, was found unresponsive after attending "Big Brother Night" with the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. An autopsy found his blood alcohol level was .447, more than five times the legal limit to drive, according to The Associated Press.

PHOTO: The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house is seen near Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., Nov. 7, 2017.Joseph Reedy/AP
The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house is seen near Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., Nov. 7, 2017.

According to grand jury testimony, a fellow pledge found Coffey unresponsive, but called other frat members instead of 911. Authorities weren't contacted for another 11 minutes, which experts told the grand jury could have cost Coffey his life.

Florida State University, a school of more than 41,000 students, suspended all Greek activities on campus in the wake of the death and Pi Kappa Phi's national office said it would close its FSU chapter.

The Coffeys filed a civil suit in February against Pi Kappa Phi and the nine men charged in connection with their son’s death.

“Our world has been rocked by this. There is not any normal for us; time will not heal our wounds. We are completely devastated by his death and the way in which he died,” the victim's mother, Sandy Coffey, said in court Monday. “Last year, four young men died while pledging a fraternity. This is not a coincidence. Fraternity hazings need to stop.”

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  • Murfski

    There are still service fraternities and sororities that don't participate in this kind of idiocy. They never make the news, because they just go quietly about their business, building houses, distributing meals, teaching good manners, ethics, and integrity. Real boring stuff -- but if you stop to think about it, you'll realize that most of what keeps this country operating is this kind of "real boring stuff."

  • j penske

    Wow... misdemeanors... REALLY ??? Here in a few years, they can petition to have their records expunged. Absolutely ridiculous.

  • BobbyBarker

    30 whole days in jail - that'll teach 'im!

  • Not Omniscient Enough

    rent-a-friend, join a frat.

  • The Terminator

    According to grand jury testimony, a fellow pledge found Coffey unresponsive, but called other frat members instead of 911. Authorities weren't contacted for another 11 minutes, which experts told the grand jury could have cost Coffey his life."

    The above is the worst part other than the death of the student. They were more concerned about themselves and the fraternity than the kid dying right in front of them.

  • Mark Mederich

    frontline students are partial victims themselves,misled/mistrained by elder/national club/u officials/panders of perdition failing to account at all, too chicken to step forward/lose a penny; however precedent frontline accounters shall tire of fall soon & turn in biggins (club pres/u pres here we come)

  • pbgd

    This was premeditated sadistic murder. These criminals should get life sentences.

  • USAF Retired

    Misdemeanor hazing and only 60 days in jail over the death of a frat brother. What a joke. What they allowed to happen to their brother was no misdemeanor. I hope this will be a lesson learned to all fraternities that the consumption of massive amounts of alcohol should never be a part of initiation.

  • Sal Monela

    Do away with fraternities and sororities. They are silly, outdated relics of the past and have no place on todays college and university campuses.

  • CaptnBlynd

    The sentences are an outrage. Why do we allow this to go on? Get fraternities and sororities off our campuses.