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WSU student pleads guilty to giving Sam Martinez alcohol, sentenced to 19 days in jail

Wesley Oswald pleaded guilty to furnishing alcohol to Martinez and was sentenced to 19 days in jail, a $500 fine and 24 months of supervised probation.

PULLMAN, Wash. — The last of the 15 cases related to the investigation into the death of Washington State University freshman Sam Martinez were completed Thursday, according to the Whitman County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Deputy Prosecutor Lindsi Alcantar said Wesley Oswald pleaded guilty to furnishing alcohol to Martinez and was sentenced to 19 days in jail, a $500 fine, must complete a class regarding alcohol and drugs and 24 months supervised probation.

Martinez, 19, died on Nov. 12, 2019 after attending big/little night, an Alpha Tau Omega pledge event. The Whitman County Coroner ruled his cause of death as "acute alcohol intoxication," otherwise known as alcohol poisoning.

The other 14 defendants were charged with furnishing alcohol to other pledge members of the ATO fraternity during a “Big/Little reveal night.” In a press release, Alcantar said at the event upperclassmen would introduce the “family drink” to the pledges which consisted of various types of alcohol.

Seven of the fraternity members charged with furnishing liquor to minors pleaded guilty. They were sentenced to one day in jail, $500 fines, eight months of supervised probation and are required to attend a class regarding alcohol and drugs. The remaining seven defendants have continued their cases to April 2022 and are under contract with the state to complete several requirements. If the requirements are met, their cases will be dismissed at their April 2022 court date, according to the prosecution.

Pullman police said they interviewed more than 70 witnesses throughout their investigation into Martinez's death, but Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said authorities did not find enough evidence to support manslaughter charges.

Martinez's parents have also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against WSU and the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity which he was pledging to join. The fraternity was suspended by both its national organization and the university after Martinez's death.

The family sent out a statement following the announcement of charges being filed saying, “It is not justice for us. We live every day with the loss of our Sam, and it's just unbearable. These charges are very minor charges against these 15 people, and none of it can bring Sam back."


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