Three Washington State frat members get probation in alcohol-related demise of freshman

Three former members of a fraternity on the Washington State College campus have been sentenced final week to eight months of supervised probation for the demise of a 19-year-old freshman who died after ingesting a considerable amount of liquor.  

Maxwell Rovegno, Cameron Thomas, and Nolan Valcik every pleaded responsible to at least one depend of furnishing liquor to Sam Martinez throughout a November 2019 Alpha Tau Omega fraternity chapter occasion. The Whitman County Medical Examiner dominated Martinez’s demise an accident by alcohol. 

The three defendants have been every ordered to pay $1,000 in fines, with $500 suspended, in response to court docket paperwork. In complete, 15 folks have been charged within the case. Different defendants have been granted continuances till March 2022. 


Sam Martinez, 19, died after consuming a large amount of alcohol during a 2019 fraternity event at the Washington State University campus, a wrongful death lawsuit claims. 

Sam Martinez, 19, died after consuming a considerable amount of alcohol throughout a 2019 fraternity occasion on the Washington State College campus, a wrongful demise lawsuit claims. 
(Sam Martinez)

In a Fb publish, Martinez’s mom, Jolayne Houtz, mentioned she learn an announcement in court docket in the course of the sentencing. 

“On Nov. 12, 2019, Bellevue Police knocked on our front door and spoke the words that are every parent’s worst nightmare: Your beloved son is dead. We sank to our knees on the floor, and we wailed and screamed so long we grew hoarse. We could barely breathe from the pain of it,” the assertion mentioned. 

“You called yourselves his brothers. You said you would have his back. Instead, you turned your backs on him when he needed you most. If just one of you had made the call that night for help, Sam would be with us today,” Houtz continued. “We believe some of you may know much more than you have shared with investigators about what happened that night. Some of you may even still be covering up in the name of your so-called brotherhood.”

Houtz and Hector Martinez, Sam’s father, have filed a wrongful demise lawsuit in opposition to the college and the fraternity, which was suspended on the WSU campus till 2026. 

Martinez misplaced consciousness inside a number of hours of ingesting a half-gallon of rum on Nov.11, 2019 however emergency medical personnel weren’t contacted till the following morning “when it was far too late to save his life,” the lawsuit states. 


The go well with accused the fraternity of conducting hazing rituals, together with forcing pledges to eat uncooked onions. One other exercise known as the “Blackout Date Dash” included allegedly handcuffing pledges from the fraternity and a sorority and locking them in a room. 

The keys to the cuffs have been on the backside of a fifth of alcohol and the pair may solely be freed as soon as they consumed the bottle, the go well with says. 

The Related Press contributed to this report. 

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