Los Angeles Times

No charges in alleged hazing

President of nowdefunct Cal State Northridge fraternity won’t be prosecuted in pledge’s death.

- By Veronica Rocha veronica.rocha@latimes.com Twitter: @VeronicaRo­chaLA

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has declined to file charges against the president of a now- defunct fraternity in the case of a Cal State Northridge student who died during an alleged hazing incident last year.

Prosecutor­s ruled there was insufficie­nt evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Alex Terzibachi­an’s actions were criminal, according to a charge evaluation document from the district attorney’s office. The decision means Terzibachi­an won’t be charged with hazing or involuntar­y manslaught­er

At the time, Terzibachi­an was Pi Kappa Phi’s president. Armando Villa, 19, was pledging for Pi Kappa Phi when he went on a hike July 1, 2014, in the Angeles National Forest, became dehydrated and died.

Prosecutor­s argued that choosing to hike ona hot day with inadequate water does not amount to involuntar­y manslaught­er.

“The pledges were not denied basic needs, such as water, shoes, clothing or sleep,” prosecutor­s said. “The events leading up to this victim’s death do not fit within the definition of ‘ hazing.’”

Villa, prosecutor­s said, was allowed to choose his own clothing and shoes.

Hazing deaths, prosecutor­s said, are usually the result of excessive alcohol consumptio­n, drugs or physical injury inflicted by fraternity members.

None of those led to Villa’s death, according to the court document.

In this case, Terzibachi­an and other fraternity memberswer­e participat­ing in the same pledge activity, according to the document. No drugs or alcohol were permitted during the hike. Thegroup, prosecutor­s said, stopped to eat hot dogs for lunch before they continued hiking.

Terzibachi­an, prosecutor­s say, provided Villa and the other pledges with individual water supplies. He also brought additional water. The pledges, however, ran out of water before the end of the hike.

The pledges told authoritie­s that they didn’t realize Villa was suffering from heat exhaustion or “was any worse off than the other hikers,” according to the court document. At one point, the pledges attended to another hiker whowas exhibiting dehydratio­n and heat exhaustion.

Prosecutor­s said Villa ran away from the group without telling Terzibachi­an or any of the other pledges. They later found him lying face- down in a culvert.

He was unconsciou­s and unresponsi­ve. Villa had a sunburn, blisters on his feet and scratches that probably occurred during the hike, prosecutor­s said.

Attorney Douglas Aberle, who represents Villa’s parents, has argued that Villa was forced to wear illfitting shoes during the hazing. He said the fraternity leaders didn’t bring enough water, so Villa and a friend left the group in search of more water.

Villa’s parents are suing Pi Kappa Phi and the university over his death, seeking unspecifie­d damages. They argue that the university’s and fraternity’s conduct led to his death.

The fraternity has since closed its Cal State Northridge chapter and is permanentl­y banned from operating on the campus.

 ??  ?? ARMANDO VILLA, 19, collapsed and died during a hike sponsored by a fraternity at CSUN.
ARMANDO VILLA, 19, collapsed and died during a hike sponsored by a fraternity at CSUN.

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