11 charged in connection with fraternity-related death of Virginia university student

Southeast

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Eleven former frat brothers are now out on bond after being accused of hazing a freshman student at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).

19-year-old Adam Oakes attended a Delta Chi fraternity rush off-campus event in February where he died from alcohol poisoning.

Eight men, who were arrested Friday, face charges of unlawful hazing of a student. Three of them face an additional charge of buying and giving alcohol to a minor. The group is made up of VCU students and seven of them were enrolled in the fall 2021 semester, according to a statement from the university.

The three remaining others turned themselves in. The men range in age from 19 to 22. The arrests come after a monthslong investigation into Oakes’s death.

Oakes’ family says he was forced to drink an entire bottle of whiskey. He was found unresponsive on a fraternity couch the next morning by Richmond police.

The Oakes family told NewsNation they are grateful for the work of police and prosecutors, but in Virginia, hazing remains a misdemeanor and misdemeanors hold a maximum punishment of one year in jail.

“Literally giving someone so much alcohol that they die is a misdemeanor,” Courtney White, Oakes’ cousin, said.

The Oakes family continues to push for stricter hazing laws. VCU permanently expelled Delta Chi from campus back in May.

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