No Criminal Charges To Be Sought In SDSU Fraternity Pledge’s Death
Thursday, July 2, 2020
A months-long criminal investigation into the death of a San Diego State University student who fell from his bunk bed and struck his head revealed "no basis" for manslaughter or hazing charges, according to a joint statement released Thursday by the university's police department and the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.
The death of 19-year-old Dylan Hernandez, who fell from his bunk last Nov. 7, and died in a hospital the following day, generated extensive conversations about fraternity culture and hazing, and led to suspensions of more than a dozen fraternities.
Hernandez attended a fraternity event the night before his fatal injury.
Officials said there was not enough evidence to pursue manslaughter charges as Hernandez's death has been ruled accidental, with no criminal activity linked to it. Investigators also found no injuries on his body "that appeared consistent with hazing, and no evidence of student group activities likely to cause serious bodily injury or death, which is statutorily required to prove hazing."
Other than Hernandez's "devastating head injuries," the only other wound to his body was an abrasion on his thigh, officials said.
SDSU Police Chief Josh Mays said, "We continue to send our deepest sympathies to the Hernandez family and to others who cared for Dylan Hernandez. We have taken great care in our investigation, spending months interviewing witnesses and analyzing information to fully understand what took place during the evening."
The university said it will conduct a separate investigation into allegations of student misconduct from a policy level.
The statement also said that police have forwarded a case to prosecutors regarding "an individual (who) provided alcohol to minors" during the Nov. 6 party Hernandez attended.
"We have confidently presented a full case that will help inform the administrative review, and are grateful that our university community has already and will continue to implement changes to help ensure student health and safety," Mays said.
SDSU's administrative review "will start immediately" and will focus on violations of university policies, according to the university.
It will examine alleged misconduct by individual students and the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, which Hernandez was pledging at the time of his death.
KPBS is a service of San Diego State University.
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