On Tuesday morning, three members of a Geneseo unrecognized organization known as PIGS were arraigned on multiple charges in connection with the death of sophomore Arman Partamian.
Junior Alex Stucki, 20, senior Daniel Weck, 21 and Devin McClain, 21, of Mt. Morris, have each been charged with first-degree criminally negligent homicide, a felony; three counts of first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child (in allegedly supplying alcohol to minors); first degree hazing; and two counts of hazing in the second degree.
Stucki is also charged with tampering with physical evidence for allegedly removing a PIGS fraternity jersey from Partamian's body prior to the arrival of the police.
The most serious charges, criminally negligent homicide and tampering with physical evidence, carry 1 1/3 to four years sentences, and Stucki could face consecutive sentences if convicted of both, according to District Attorney Tom Moran.
According to police statements by six PIGS members, Partamian, along with two other pledges, was engaged in his fourth consecutive day of binge drinking when he died.
The pledging process on Tuesday, beginning around 1 p.m., involved the pledges participating in a number of drinking games and activities including beer football, dizzy bat and the rapid consumption of champagne. According to Stucki in his statement, "when those games were over, everyone just went their separate ways. Those three went home to probably catch a nap before the evening activities."
Partamian and the other pledges reportedly returned to the PIGS house at around 9 p.m. to resume drinking beer and vodka, playing beer pong and doing keg stands. In his statement, Stucki said that Partamian and the other two pledges "were highly intoxicated." Shortly thereafter, Stucki reports carrying Partamian upstairs to an empty bedroom with the help of one of the pledges, where they placed Partamian on the bed.
Stucki reported that he "stayed with Arman in the bedroom for about an hour to make sure he would be alright," and that he placed Partamian on his side "to make sure if he threw up during the night that he wouldn't choke." According to his statement, Stucki played a hockey game on a Playstation 3 within that room with Mark Boise, another PIGS member. Stucki said that he checked to make sure Partamian's "breathing was alright and he was snoring and he was fine when we left."
In his statement, junior Adam Brownsten, a resident of the PIGS house, reported waking up the next morning and finding Partamian facedown on the bed. Brownsten says he "walked to the bed and said, 'Yo, wake up.'" According to Brownsten's report, when Partamian failed to reply, he tried shaking him and then called Alex Stucki into the room. Brownsten reported that Stucki called 911 right away.
"It seemed like a long time before help arrived," Brownsten said.
Stucki said he was shocked at Partamian's death. "I am so sorry," he said. "You hear about stuff like this but nobody thinks it's going to happen here or to them." He added, "I cannot believe this happened. I cannot believe Arman is dead. Nobody was supposed to get hurt from this. It is a harmless game that was done to me when I joined the PIGS."
To Moran, however, the pervasive binge drinking culture that led to Partamian's death is anything but harmless.
In addition to indictments of the three PIGS members, Moran also indicted the Phi Sigma Xi, or Phigs, fraternity and its pledge master, alumnus David Utnick, on Tuesday for events that occurred in October of last year. The indictment alleges hazing, criminal nuisance and unlawfully dealing with a child. A Phi Sigma Xi member was also arrested for criminal trespass and harassment for entering a neighbor's home and accosting a woman.
The DA promised to clamp down on student drinking in Geneseo. "The out-of-control binge drinking is going to end. It's stopping," Moran said to the Democrat & Chronicle. "We've learned that many of the off-campus fraternities have been operating illegal drinking venues, where students come, show their student ID, pay $5 and get a cup and then drink without limitation."
"I'm going to do everything I can to stop every one of those parties," he said. "If I have to start charging the fraternities with tax fraud, I'll do that."