Verdict in Poconos Hazing Death Trial

STROUDSBURG -- A jury in Monroe County decided that a fraternity is responsible for the hazing death of a college pledge.

Jurors not only convicted the Greek organization for the hazing death of 19-year-old Chen "Michael" Deng, it also found the fraternity guilty of trying to cover it up.

Deng was a student at Baruch College in New York City. He died during a hazing ritual at a home near Long Pond in 2013. Pi Delta Psi is now responsible for his death.

The jury found the fraternity guilty on eight of the 10 counts it faced, including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.

Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Metzger says this verdict should send a message to Greek organizations across the country.

"They cannot haze. They cannot break the law. They cannot engage in these practices that can and did result in the death of a college student," Metzger said.

The fraternity itself was on trial in Monroe County, not the brothers who were present at the time of the death. There were 37 fraternity brothers charged after Chen's death in December of 2013. Five faced the most serious charges. Four of them agreed to plead guilty if the homicide charges were dropped. All charges were dropped against the fifth, who had agreed to testify against his brothers.

"We'll be having conferences on the remaining defendants. Those conferences may include some pleas and dispositions on those cases. Otherwise, anyone who is willing to go forward and ask for a trial, they'll be scheduled for their trial," said Metzger.

The fraternity was also found guilty of trying to cover up Deng's death.

Wes Niemoczyski, the defense attorney representing the fraternity would only say, "I'm going to have to analyze the verdict, see what issues come into play on that, there is some likelihood there will be an appeal of the verdict."

No sentencing date has been set at this time. The district attorney's office said it will seek the maximum possible sentence for each charge as well as having the fraternity expelled from the state.

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