Grand jury issues presentment in death of FSU fraternity pledge

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 19, 2017

Andrew Coffey (Photo: Facebook / CBS News)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- State Attorney Jack Campbell says the grand jury did find that there was criminal conduct in Andrew Coffey's death, but it did not specify who should be charged and with what crimes.

Campbell says the grand jury recommended that either the state attorney or a future grand jury make those decisions, once investigations by the State Attorney's Office, Tallahassee Police and FSU Police are complete.


By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 19, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A grand jury has issued a presentment in the death of FSU student Andrew Coffey.

That presentment - which is about 17 pages long - includes a timeline and details of Coffey's death and makes recommendations for Florida State University going forward.

We are trying to get a copy of that presentment.

The grand jury did not issue any indictments, but State Attorney Jack Campbell says a new grand jury convening in January could take up the case again and the criminal investigation is ongoing.

Campbell did say that Coffey died of acute alcohol poisoning. That's the first time authorities have publicly confirmed alcohol is to blame in the Pi Kappa Phi pledge's death.


By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 19, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A Leon County Grand Jury will determine if criminal charges are warranted in the death of Florida State University student and Pi Kappa Phi pledge, Andrew Coffey.

5:41 p.m.

WCTV's Tiffany Lewis has reported the Grand Jury has wrapped up interviews, and the fraternity members, lawyers and parents have left.



11:13 a.m.

Testimony continues for a second day as a grand jury reviews the death of Andrew Coffey.

One Pi Kappa Phi member after another is going in to testify as others wait their turn on the benches outside.

The halls are still crowded with students and attorneys. Several defense attorneys have told us that none of the young men has been released yet, even if they've already testified.

The medical examiner Dr. Lisa Flanagan testified Tuesday morning too. She had no comment afterward on Coffey's cause of death.

Tallahassee Police suspect alcohol is involved, but the autopsy and toxicology results have not been made public.

The grand jury review is scheduled to last two days. It's not clear yet whether the grand jury will conclude its interviews in that time frame.

Indictments or presentments could come as early as this afternoon.





By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 18, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A Leon County grand jury is now reviewing the death of an FSU student and fraternity pledge Andrew Coffey.

That grand jury is now deciding if criminal charges are warranted in Coffey's death.

The 20-yearold Pi Kappa Phi pledge was found dead after a party
at a home on Buena Vista Drive last month.

Dozens of witnesses went behind closed doors Monday to discuss the final hours of Andrew Coffey's life.

The first student to testify spent more than an hour behind closed doors.

The halls of the Leon County Courthouse were filled with Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members anxiously awaiting their turn.

"These young men are all nervous. They've never been through anything like this before," defense attorney John Leace said. "So it's on one hand nerve wracking because they're worried about themselves, and on the other hand, their friend died. They're here about a very somber event."

Fraternity members could face possible charges of hazing or manslaughter in the November 3rd death of Andrew Coffey. Police suspect alcohol is to blame, but autopsy results aren't public yet.

"Who are they after? Who are the targets? And to this point we all have ideas, but we don't know," defense attorney Toby Norris said.

"If you're subpoenaed you get immunity for what you say in the grand jury. If you have an invitation, that could mean you are a potential target," defense attorney Fred Conrad said. "The nine or ten invitations that were sent ... it's potential that every one of them could be indicted."

FSU President John Thrasher was the first to face the grand jury. He had no comment afterward. The Vice President for Student Affairs soon followed.

"I can say at this time we are thinking of Andrew Coffey's family and we're looking forward to what the grand jury releases," Dr. Amy Hecht said.

"Do you have any indication whether criminal charges will follow from this grand jury?"

"That's a question for the State Attorney," FSU Spokesman Dennis Schnittker said.

Coffey's death follows fraternity pledge deaths at both Penn State and LSU earlier this year. 26 students are facing criminal charges at Penn State and ten students are facing criminal charges at LSU.

"Anytime a young man dies it's something people are going to want to look into and take very seriously," defense attorney John Leace said. "I caution anyone comparing this to Penn State or LSU. The situation is very different and I think ultimately when the facts come out people will see that."

Testimony before the grand jury will continue on Tuesday.


By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 18, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Testimony is underway in a Leon County Grand Jury investigation into the death of Florida State University student and fraternity pledge, Andrew Coffey.

2:15 p.m.

Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members are now testifying before the Leon County grand jury.

All of that testimony happens behind closed doors.

The first student started testifying around 1 o'clock and testified for more than an hour. Students are being called three at a time and waiting on benches outside the grand jury room for their turn to testify.

More than 50 fraternity members - by some estimates more than 75 - are waiting in the hallway on the third floor.

Almost as many defense attorneys are waiting with them.

It's not clear if all of the fraternity members will be called to testify or if the state attorney will be able to wrap up testimony in the two days slated.

Defense attorneys say possible charges could range from contributing to the delinquency of a minor to hazing to manslaughter.

We'll keep you posted on any indictments or grand jury presentments.

10:24 a.m.

Florida State University's President was the first to testify in front of a Leon County Grand jury investigating the death of FSU student and fraternity pledge Andrew Coffey.


President John Thrasher testified behind closed doors for about 20 minutes and had no comment afterward.


FSU's Vice President of Student Affairs Amy Hecht is testifying now.

More than 50 Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members are waiting down the hall along with their attorneys.


It's not clear if the State Attorney has subpoenaed everyone at the party or everyone in the fraternity to testify.


The grand jury is slated to meet Monday and Tuesday to review Coffey's death and decide if any criminal charges are warranted.

Among the possible charges it could be considering, one attorney said, are hazing and manslaughter.


Click here for continuing coverage on this developing story.



 
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