April 28, 2008, 9:58PM
Hazing case sends 2 ex-UT frat members to jail
AUSTIN â€” Two former fraternity members at the University of Texas received four-day jail sentences Monday while two more each received a year of deferred adjudication in connection with hazing allegations that included shocking pledges with cattle prods and holding hot irons to their faces.
Will Evans and Austin Sherrill, both 23, pleaded no contest to charges of hazing and furnishing alcohol to minors. Evans was sentenced to four days in jail, 180 hours of community service and two years deferred adjudication. Sherrill received the same sentence, except he must complete 100 hours of community service.
Sherrill allegedly touched a hot iron to the face of two pledges, according to court documents.
Chase Bolding, the former president of the school’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter, pleaded no contest to the same charges and received one year deferred adjudication and 100 hours of community service. Bolding had admitted in court to shocking pledges with a cattle prod.
Jimmy Berry, 23, pleaded no contest to failure to report hazing and received one year deferred adjudication.
Deferred adjudication means the men will not have convictions on their records if they comply with the terms of their probation.
All four defendants declined to speak with reporters outside the courthouse.
The misdemeanor charges stem from incidents in 2006, when the fraternity members allegedly cultivated a dangerous culture of a hazing that included shocking pledges with cattle prods, beating them and making them drink large amounts of alcohol.
According to court documents, pledges were repeatedly shocked with the electric cattle prods, beaten with bamboo sticks and at least once kicked “field goal style” by the fraternity president.
They were also made to drink large amounts of alcohol and perform manual labor, according to affidavits filed by Travis County Attorney David Escamilla’s office.
The fraternity came under scrutiny after Tyler Cross, a freshman from Georgia, was found dead Nov. 17, 2006, on the front sidewalk of an off-campus dorm after he had fallen from a fifth-floor balcony. An autopsy report said Cross had a blood alcohol level of 0.19, more than twice the legal limit for driving in Texas.
Last year, three officers of the university’s Lambda Phi Epsilon received probation after a criminal investigation into the death of Phanta “Jack” Phoummarath, a freshman honors student from Houston who was found dead after an off-campus fraternity party Dec. 9, 2005.