Pi Kappa Phi members offered plea deal in hazing death case

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By: WCTV Eyewitness News
March 7, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A plea deal has been offered to the nine Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members charged in the death of Andrew Coffey.

The offers would allow the fraternity brothers to avoid a trial and the possibility of a felony record.

Campbell's email to defense attorneys dated March 5th indicates he has discussed the plea offers with Andrew Coffey's family. "I think this allows your clients to both accept responsibility and avoid life long consequences," the email says.

The fraternity members have been sent two offers. The first offer includes:

  • Plea guilty to 2 counts of misdemeanor Hazing
  • Adjudication withheld
  • 2 years probation
  • 60 days in the Leon County Jail
  • Testify, publicly speak, and/or recount truthfully and consistently with all prior proffers and testimony concerning hazing, the actions of Pi Kappa Phi and its members, including the co-defendants and the death of Andrew Coffey in every forum requested. This explicitly includes speaking to any group requested about the dangers of hazing and binge drinking.
  • Hazing awareness class
  • No alcohol while on probation. Subject to random testing.
  • Court costs and fines and cost of Prosecution
  • Letter of apology to Coffey family

    The second offer includes:

  • Plea guilty to Felony Hazing
  • Adjudication withheld
  • 2 years probation
  • 60 days at Leon County Sheriff Work Camp run consecutively
  • Testify, publicly speak, and/or recount truthfully and consistently with all prior proffers and testimony concerning hazing, the actions of Pi Kappa Phi and its members, including the co-defendants and the death of Andrew Coffey in every forum requested. This explicitly includes speaking to any group requested about the dangers of hazing and binge drinking.
  • Hazing awareness class
  • No alcohol while on probation. Subject to random testing.
  • Court costs and fines and cost of Prosecution
  • Letter of apology to Coffey family

    Both plea offers expire on April 1.

    State Attorney Jack Campbell says he released the email detailing the plea offers Tuesday in response to a public records request, but cannot comment on plea negotiations.

    WCTV has reached out to defense attorneys representing the fraternity members. We have not heard back from everyone. Statements from those we have heard from can be seen below.

    Defense attorney Fred Conrad, representing Brett Birmingham


    “I’m a little surprised that this offer is coming as early as it has. It’s not unheard of. I still don’t have all the evidence in the case.“
    Conrad says he has talked about the plea offer with his client, but had no comment on whether he's likely to accept it or not.
    “It’s still too early to tell. These are always difficult decisions to make. A jury is very hard to predict; if an attorney tells you he can predict what it’ll do, he’s either lying or stupid.”

    Defense attorney Eric Abrahamsen, representing Conner Ravelo


    Abrahamsen would not discuss the status of plea negotiations, but did say:
    “I think there is a good faith effort to resolve the case early and fairly, but I think it’s admirable that we’re trying to come to a resolution that works for everyone so quickly.”

    Defense attorney Ethan Way, representing Clayton Muehlstein


    “It’s awfully premature.”
    “It’s awfully early to try to figure out how to resolve this case. We’re not done trading evidence and information yet.

    Way added he is likely to reject the deal because of its open ended public speaking requirements.
    "That’s a public service announcement, not a plea bargain.”

    Defense attorney Don Pumphrey, representing Luke Kluttz

    “The Kluttz family’s thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Coffey family. It is inappropriate to comment or release information regarding a pending case set for speedy trial when the state has yet to complete discovery. I find it highly unusual that civil attorneys are receiving information simultaneously or in some cases prior to defense attorneys trying to get to the truth.”

    Defense attorney Zach Ward, representing Kyle Bauer, and Defense attorney Brian Tannebaum, representing Anthony Petagine, both responded with a "no comment."



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