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Eight charged with manslaughter in frat party drinking death

February 10, 1997

FROSTBURG, Md. (AP) _ Eight students at Frostburg State University were charged with manslaughter in the alcohol poisoning death of a freshman who got drunk at a fraternity party.

The freshman, John Eric Stinner, 20, consumed at least six beers and 12 shots of vodka in two hours at the off-campus Kappa Beta Zeta party, Allegany County State’s Attorney Lawrence V. Kelly said Monday.

Friends carried Stinner back to his dormitory room, where he was found dead on Nov. 9 with a blood alcohol content of 0.34 percent, more than three times the legally intoxicated level of 0.10 percent.

The defendants were indicted on Friday and all had been released on their own recognizance by Monday afternoon, Kelly said.

Seven were members of Kappa Beta Zeta, one of several unsanctioned fraternities that hold weekend parties in the western Maryland town of 8,000. The eighth lived in the apartment building where the party was held.

They also were charged with reckless endangerment and sale of alcohol without a license. Stinner, of Glassport, Pa., and other underage drinkers had paid a $3 admission fee to the party, Kelly said.

About 5,700 people died from alcohol poisoning in 1994, the most recent report available from the National Center for Health Statistics. Of those, 375 were 15 to 24 years old.

Felony charges are rare in binge drinking deaths. Two men were charged with involuntary manslaughter in 1995 in the death of a Chickamauga, Ga., high school football player, and an Anderson, Ind., bartender was charged earlier this year with reckless homicide in the death of a man who drank until he passed out.

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