Hazing News

Student gets probation in death of Delta Tau Delta member Ross Higuchi, 18, a University of Northern Colorado freshman

Here is the link to the KDVR story


WELD COUNTY, Colo. — The college student convicted of providing alcohol to a minor who died after jumping off a second story balcony was sentenced to two years probation Tuesday.

Kyle Riley’s conviction was based on the death of Ross Higuchi, 18, a University of Northern Colorado freshman. Higuchi died after he jumped off a second-story balcony at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house during a post-initiation party on April 16.

Higuchi jumped following a heated debate with fraternity members about damage to a door, which those fraternity members said Higuchi would have to pay for.

Higuchi’s blood-alcohol content level at the time of his death was .286. Riley, 22, admitted to providing Higuchi with the alcohol, which a prosecutor argued to Weld County judge Michele Meyer should be a “mitigating factor” in Riley’s sentence.

That sentence could have been as severe as 18 months in jail.

Riley, who was sentenced to 200 hours of community service in addition to two years probation, was remorseful and succinct at the sentencing.

“I’d like to apologize to the Higuchi family,” he said. “I broke the law. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Higuchi’s mother, Janile Higuchi, was emotional as she spoke about the death of her son, saying her daughter is still so upset “it’s like I lost two children,” and that her husband “often wakes up screaming Ross’ name.”

Speaking directly to Riley, Janile thanked him for going to police and said “I do not want you to go to jail because it wouldn’t solve anything.”

Instead, Janile said, she hoped Riley would spread this story to local high school students.

“Every year we hear of preventable tragedies,” Janile said. “This was preventable.”

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

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 current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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