by: Mark Becker Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
A judge in Montgomery County dismissed hazing charges against three UNC Charlotte fraternity members and found a fourth not guilty in a trial Tuesday afternoon.
The judge dismissed charges against Kirby Ballard, Casey Bost and Zachary Faust after ruling that the prosecutor had not proven that they were responsible for the alcohol poisoning that sent 18-year-old Marcos Maganares to the hospital in September 2013, where doctors found his blood-alcohol level to be five times the legal limit.
The judge then found a force member of the pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, Jordan Litaker, not guilty of the hazing charge.
Maganares had testified that he and 15 other fraternity pledges went on a camp out in the Uhwarrie National Forest where they were encouraged to drink beers and then hard liquor.
Under cross-examination, he admitted that pledges were not required to go on the campout, and that he was not forced to drink once they were there.
Maganares' attorney said they were disappointed with the judge's ruling, but plan to file a civil lawsuit against the fraternity, and perhaps UNC Charlotte.
The university did find the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity guilty of hazing and suspended their charter for eight years.