45 Mill Street -- student died

This is the rooming house at 45 Mill St. in Athens where an OU freshman was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead early Monday morning, Nov. 12.

Another former Ohio University student pleaded guilty today (Friday) to charges in the Athens County Court of Common Pleas related to the November 2018 death of an OU student pledge of a now-expelled university fraternity chapter.

Saxon Angell-Perez, 22, entered a change of plea on Friday morning, switching to a plea of guilty to the charges of permitting drug abuse, a felony of the fifth degree; hazing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree; and trafficking in cocaine, a felony of the fifth degree, according to documents filed in the Athens County Court of Common Pleas.

Collin Wiant, an 18-year-old Ohio University student, died in November 2018 while at the reported annex of the Sigma Pi OU chapter at 45 Mill St. in Athens. As previously reported by The Athens NEWS, that chapter has since been expelled by the university.

Angell-Perez filed a waiver of personal appearance on May 29. The hearing was reportedly conducted via a Zoom conference call due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.

Ultimately, Angell-Perez was convicted of the hazing charge and sentenced by Athens County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Lang to the Prosecutor’s Office’s drug and alcohol diversion program, Blackburn confirmed.

In February of this year, two other former Ohio University students and one current student pleaded guilty to charges in the Athens County Common Pleas Court relating to Wiant’s death. Dominic A. Figliola, 21, of Athens; Cullen Willi McLaughlin, 21, of Northfield, Ohio; and Zachary Herskovitz, 22, of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania – all former members of the Sigma Pi OU fraternity chapter – had similar sentences to participate in the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office’s diversion program.

In total, seven former OU Sigma Pi members were indicted in November 2018 on charges relating to the death of Wiant. Cases are still pending against the other three former fraternity members, as well as three men who worked for the Silver Serpent business in Athens that allegedly sold the nitrous oxide that Wiant reportedly ingested and contributed to his death, The Athens NEWS previously reported.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said in a press release following the Feb. 27 court hearing that the three men were part of a “cycle of hazing that has existed within” the Sigma Pi chapter for years.

“Each class, after being hazed, waited until their turn to inflict the same or worse on the next class,” Blackburn said. “Hopefully, these cases and legislative changes can end this practice that exists in too many organizations across this country.”

Criminal cases are still pending for five other people indicted as part of the investigation of Wiant’s death:

  • Joshua Thomas Androsac, of Lewis Center, Ohio, charged with permitting drug abuse, a felony of the fifth degree; hazing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree; involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree; two counts of trafficking in harmful intoxicants, felonies of the fifth degree.
  • Stephan Brent Lewis, trafficking in harmful Intoxicants, a felony of the fifth degree; and improperly dispensing or distributing nitrous oxide, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. Lewis worked at Silver Serpent (and may still). Brent also pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Wednesday morning in Athens County Common Pleas Court, and was released on his own recognizance.
  • James Dylan Wanke/Silver Serpent, LLC, charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree; two counts of trafficking in harmful intoxicants, felonies of the fifth degree; involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the third degree; and improperly dispensing or distributing nitrous oxide, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
  • Corbin Michael Gustafson, reckless homicide, a felony of the third degree.
  • Elijah Robert Wahib, of Westlake, Ohio, charged with tampering with evidence, a felony of the third degree; permitting drug abuse, a felony of the fifth degree; hazing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree; assault, a misdemeanor of the first degree; obstructing justice, a felony of the fifth degree; and failure to comply with underage alcohol laws.
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