We heard about the story in February and first believed it was simply an accident. But, this week, charges have been filed against eight members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity for involuntary manslaughter following the death of a pledger.

The 19-year-old student from Penn State was reportedly drinking heavily that night and suffered traumatic brain injuries following several falls from the night, the final down a flight of stairs into the frat house basement. According to a forensic pathologist, the victim’s blood alcohol content was between .26 and .36, which in and of itself could have been life-threatening.

The night seemed ripe for disaster, with the victim reportedly consuming nearly a half dozen drinks within the first two minutes. He sustained apparent injuries to his head and stomach, neither of which were treated, and fell multiple times, including once in the basement, where fellow fraternity members left him for hours without seeking treatment. According to the Centre County District Attorney, they delayed getting him help, failed to provide important information regarding his condition and tried to cover up the incident by cleaning the house and deleting online conversations and Google searches on alcohol poisoning and brain injuries.

The eight students are now facing very serious criminal charges. When facing such charges and the possibility of significant time in prison and other penalties, it is important to consider criminal defense strategies. The right approach could make all the difference in getting your freedom and protecting your rights, or spending years of your life in prison as well as other serious long-term consequences.

Source: CNN, “Manslaughter charges in Penn State fraternity pledge’s death,” Sara Ganim, Chris Welch, Kristina Sgueglia and Joe Sterling, May 8, 2017