Sweeney first to plead guilty in Stone Foltz hazing death

Sweeney will face sentencing on February 17 and will no longer be required to wear an ankle monitor.
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 11:38 AM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - The first of the eight young men indicted in the death of Bowling Green State University sophomore, Stone Foltz, earlier this year has pleaded guilty. Niall Sweeney, 21, of Erie, Pennsylvania, entered a guilty plea in Wood County court on Thursday.

Sweeney was charged with four counts, including third-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, hazing, failure to comply with underage alcohol laws, and obstructing official business. The plea agreement allows him to be found guilty of felony tampering with evidence rather than the manslaughter charge, as well as misdemeanor hazing. All other counts have been dropped. Sweeney will face sentencing on February 17 and will no longer be required to wear an ankle monitor. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of community control, rather than jail time, based on his cooperation with investigators.

In his guilty plea, Sweeney admitted to participating in removing evidence that would have assisted in the investigation, including removing Snapchat posts from the night of the incident.

Seven other young men also face charges in connection to Foltz’s death, ranging from first-degree manslaughter and reckless homicide to similar misdemeanor charges.

Stone Foltz died on March 7, three days after he was found unresponsive in his apartment. According to the Wood County Prosecutor’s office, Foltz had attended an event hosted by the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity in which he was encouraged to drink an entire bottle of alcohol. A post-mortem analysis found that Foltz’s blood-alcohol level was nearly five times the legal limit.

As a result of Foltz’s death, Bowling Green State University permanently banned the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity from campus, and 21 students were recently hit with conduct violations, including the expulsion of three of those students.

Further, the state of Ohio adopted harsher anti-hazing laws.

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