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Sept. 16, 2021

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Former WSU fraternity member pleads not guilty to providing liquor to minors the night Samuel Martinez died

Coroner ruled death an accident caused by alcohol poisoning

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SPOKANE — A former Washington State University fraternity member pleaded not guilty Wednesday to two counts of furnishing liquor to a minor the night a student died of alcohol poisoning during a fraternity event.

The Whitman County prosecuting attorney charged Jeremy McAteer, along with 14 others, with supplying liquor to one or more underage people on the night of Nov. 11, 2019.

The gross misdemeanor charges were in relation to an initiation event that ended in the alcohol poisoning death of 19-year-old WSU student Samuel Martinez.

McAteer is one of three defendants, along with Wesley Oswald and Nolan Valcik, who face two counts of this offense instead of one, according to the prosecutor. Police suspect Oswald is the person who gave Martinez alcohol.

The Whitman County coroner ruled Martinez’s death an accident caused by alcohol poisoning. WSU suspended the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity chapter until 2026.

McAteer was the only one to have an arraignment Wednesday; the others will have their first appearances July 9. If he is found guilty, the maximum punishment includes up to a year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

McAteer will have a pretrial hearing July 22 in Pullman.

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