Hazing News

Will Evans and Austin Sherrill Update: Cattle Prod Hazing

April 28, 2008, 9:58PM
Hazing case sends 2 ex-UT frat members to jail

AUSTIN — 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.

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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