Eight indicted in hazing death of BGSU student Stone Foltz

Apr. 30—BOWLING GREEN — A Wood County grand jury has indicted eight individuals for the death of a Bowling Green State University student who attended a hazing event associated with a fraternity.

Stone Foltz, 20, of Delaware, Ohio, who was pledging to become a member of BGSU's Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, died last month after attending a "Big Brother Night," on March 4. At the event, members of the fraternity known as big brothers or "bigs," took pledges who were assigned as their little brothers, or "littles," to a basement, covered their eyes with neckties, and had them consume an entire fifth of alcohol, authorities said.

That night, the sophomore was found unresponsive after he was dropped off by three individuals who were also at the event. A roommate found him face down on a couch and not breathing and called 911. He was pronounced dead three days later.

The Lucas County coroner ruled the death an accident caused by a fatal level of alcohol intoxication at a hazing incident.

Speaking at a news conference to announce the charges Thursday at the Wood County Courthouse in Bowling Green, prosecutor Paul Dobson said six of the eight individuals have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, while one individual, 20-year-old Jacob Krinn, who is also from Delaware, has been charged with first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, third-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, felonious assault, hazing, failure to comply with underage alcohol laws, and obstructing official business.

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Another individual, Troy Henricksen, 23, of Grove City, Ohio, was charged with reckless homicide in addition to involuntary manslaughter, tampering with evidence, hazing, and failure to comply with underage alcohol laws.

Mr. Dobson detailed the charges as Stone Foltz's parents, Shari and Cory Foltz, stood behind him listening carefully alongside their attorney Rex Elliot and members of the Bowling Green Police Department.

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The prosecutor said the investigation revealed that Mr. Krinn, was "more directly involved in the incident relative to Stone Foltz from the beginning to the end," which included "taking him to the apartment."

"For that reason, we felt that the culpability was different," Mr. Dobson said.

In an interview with The Blade last month, Mr. and Mrs. Foltz, with their attorney Mr. Elliot, said Stone and Mr. Krinn knew each other from growing up and going to school in Delaware. They said because of the familiarity, Stone wanted Mr. Krinn as his big, and that he specifically chose the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha, also known as Pike, because he knew a few of the kids from back home.

Attempts to reach Mr. Krinn on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Mr. Henricksen's involvement warranted a reckless homicide charge, Mr. Dobson said.

The six individuals charged with involuntary manslaughter in addition to tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, hazing, and failure to comply with underage alcohol laws are: Daylen Dunson, 20, of Cleveland, Canyon Caldwell, 21, of Dublin, Ohio, Niall Sweeney, 21, of Erie, Pa., Jarrett Prizel, 19, of Olean, N.Y, Aaron Lehane, 21, of Loveland, Ohio, and Benjamin Boyers, 21, of Sylvania. All of the individuals except for Mr. Lehane, are currently enrolled at BGSU, Mr. Dobson said.

Mr. Dobson said in a news release the misdemeanor charges against Mr. Boyers would be dismissed "for the present time."

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In a statement from Mr. Elliot and attorney Sean Alto on behalf of the Foltz family, Mr. and Mrs. Foltz said they were "grateful" for the hard work of law enforcement, but called on government agencies to take action to prevent future hazing on college campuses.

"Today is just one step in the right direction," the statement read. "Swift action also needs to be taken by government officials and university presidents nationwide to abolish fraternity hazing. We are living every parent's worst nightmare and will not be at peace until fraternity hazing is seen for what it truly is — abuse.

"It's unacceptable, and in Stone's case, it was fatal," the statement continued.

Alex Solis, a spokesman for BGSU, said the school was "appreciative of the hard work and diligence done by the prosecutor and a grand jury to seek justice and hold those accountable in the tragic death of student Stone Foltz," in a statement.

"At this time, the University refers all questions regarding the law enforcement investigation and criminal cases to the Wood County Prosecutor and Bowling Green Police," he continued.

Mr. Dobson said some of the underage alcohol violations relate to allegedly providing alcohol and others for allowing illegal activity at their residence.

He said the multiple counts of hazing and failure to comply with underage alcohol laws "reflect the allegation that those defendants participated in providing copious amounts of alcohol to Mr. Foltz and other new members" of the fraternity.

First-degree manslaughter alleges that a person caused a death by committing or attempting to commit a felony and has a maximum penalty of 11 years in prison.

Third-degree manslaughter alleges that a person caused a death by committing or attempting to commit a misdemeanor and has a maximum penalty of three years in prison. The same potential prison terms apply to reckless homicide, tampering with evidence, and obstructing justice.

Felonious assault has a maximum penalty of eight years in prison.

Hazing, failure to comply with underage alcohol laws, and obstructing official business are misdemeanors.

The eight individuals have been summoned and will appear in Wood County Common Pleas Court at 1 p.m. May 19.

Mr. Dobson said more indictments could follow and urged anyone with knowledge of the incident on March 4 to come forward to police with any information they might have.

"It's really not my intention by the prosecution of this case to send a message," Mr. Dobson said. "My prosecution is based on the facts of the case by the collective legal and factual determinations that have been made by my team based on the information and evidence that has been obtained by the police department."

"Obviously I want this to be the only and last time that this type of case is prosecuted in Wood County," he added. "And please God, let it be the last time that it's prosecuted in the United States."

First Published April 29, 2021, 6:28pm

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