Plea deals offered to fraternity members charged in FSU hazing death

State attorney outlines plea offers in connection with Andrew Coffey's death

By Peter Burke - Managing Editor
Florida State University/WTXL via CNN

Andrew Coffey died of alcohol poisoning after an off-campus Pi Kappa Phi party in November.

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - Plea deals have been offered to at least some of the nine Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members charged in the hazing death of Florida State University pledge Andrew Coffey.

Tallahassee State Attorney Jack Campbell laid out the parameters of the offers to several defense attorneys in an email Monday.

The email was obtained Wednesday through a public records request.

Under the terms of one agreement, the defendants could plead guilty to two counts of misdemeanor hazing with adjudication withheld, spend 60 days in the Leon County jail, followed by two years of probation, be required to testify or publicly speak about Coffey's death at every forum requested, take a hazing awareness class, be prohibited from alcohol with random testing and provide a written or verbal apology to the Coffey family.

The second option is the same, except the defendants would be able to plead guilty to one count of felony hazing and complete 60 days in the Leon County Sheriff's Office jail work camp instead of serving jail time.

"I think this allows your clients to both accept responsibility and avoid lifelong consequences," Campbell wrote. "The Coffey family has been consulted. … Ultimately, the plea also serves the greater goal of changing a culture that condones hazing and binge drinking."

Attorneys for the defendants have until April 1 to accept the offers, which would also expire if they file motions in the case, Campbell wrote.

Campbell declined to discuss the plea offers to the Tallahassee Democrat.

"Like most cases, there are plea negotiations and this one is no different," Campbell told the newspaper. "I want to try the case in a courtroom. I don't want to do it through the media."

Coffey, a 20-year-old junior from Pompano Beach, was found dead Nov. 3 at an off-campus home where a Pi Kappa Phi party had taken place the night before. An autopsy revealed that Coffey died from alcohol poisoning.

His family has since filed a lawsuit against Pi Kappa Phi's national chapter and the nine defendants.

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