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Student escapes charges in death of Wittenberg club pledge, Karl F. Fazli

Excerpt:
The other case involved the Feb. 14 death of Wittenberg junior Karl F. Fazli, 21.A friend found Fazli unresponsive about 10 a.m. in the living room of a Park Place home, according to a police report.

Witnesses had told police they last saw Fazli snoring on a couch about 4 a.m. after he had consumed large amounts of alcohol at a party.

The grand jury considered two charges: hazing and involuntary manslaughter as the result of a hazing, Carter said.

A Wittenberg student, who is a member of The Wizards — a secret society Fazli reportedly was trying to become a member of — was not indicted on the charges by the grand jury, Carter said.

He did not name the student.

For charges to be pursued, the grand jury would have needed to find that Fazli was forced or coerced to excessively drink the amount of alcohol that caused his death, Carter said.

Twelve Wittenberg students and a university police officer testified about the case, he said.

Carter described the secret society as a group that people “pledge” to become members. He said it’s different from a traditional Greek fraternity because it does not span other campuses.

John Marr, Wittenberg’s executive assistant to the president, could not be reached Friday afternoon for comment about the university’s knowledge of the group.

The Wizards is not listed as a student organization on Wittenberg’s Web site.

Previous excerpt: udent’s death shocks Wittenberg

Police investigate 21-year-old’s sudden death. Autopsy results will not be back for several weeks.

By Valerie Lough
Staff Writer
Saturday, February 17, 2007

Springfield police are investigating the sudden death of a 21-year-old Wittenberg University student who died Wednesday morning.

Karl F. Fazli, of 40 W. College Ave., was found unconscious and unresponsive at his home about 10 a.m. He was later pronounced dead at Mercy Medical Center.

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According to a Springfield Police Division report, Fazli attended a party on Park Place Tuesday night, and witnesses told police he had been drinking heavily.

An autopsy has been conducted, but no preliminary cause of death has been established, said Tom Comer, an investigator with the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

Comer said results from the autopsy will not be back for several weeks.

“All of us in the Wittenberg family are shocked and deeply saddened by Karl’s unexpected death,” said Mark H. Erickson, university president.

Fazli, a junior from Indianapolis, was an English major and member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity.

“He was a joy to be with and he’ll be greatly missed,” said John Marr, executive assistant to the president.

Marr traveled with Fazli and several other students to a study tour in Russia last year.

Marr said Fazli’s death has sent shock waves among the students.

“They’re taking it pretty hard,” he said. “(The students) are at an age where this kind of thing just doesn’t happen.”

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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