Four Charged in Virginia State University Hazing Death


0  Updated at 2:34 am, April 26th, 2013 By: ABC Digital
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WRIC/ABC News(NEW YORK) — Four men have been charged after allegedly hazing two Virginia State University students by making them walk into the Appomattox River, resulting in the drowning death of at least one of the students.

The body of Marvell Edmonson, 19, was recovered from the river Monday.

Search-and-rescue teams are still searching for a second student, Jauwan M. Holmes, who disappeared during the group’s outing in the early morning hours on Saturday, according to the Chesterfield County, Va., police.

The outing consisted of seven males wading through the Appomattox River for initiation into the group Men of Honor, a social club not sanctioned by the Petersburg, Va., university, police said.

Around 1:30 a.m., Saturday, Holmes and Edmonson were carried downstream by the river, and other members of the group called 911 for help, police said.  Rescue teams combed the river for signs of the two men throughout the weekend.

Police have charged James Mackey Sr., 35, Eriq Benson, 19, Cory Baytop, 26, and Charles Zollicoffer II, 29, with five counts of hazing.  Police are still searching for Zollicoffer but have arrested the other three individuals.

Benson and Baytop are students at VSU.

Both Mackey and Benson had their first court appearances on Thursday, although Mackey’s attorney declined to comment to ABC News and Benson’s lawyer did not respond to immediate requests for comment.

It’s unclear whether they’ve entered a plea.

Baytop will appear in court next week.  He could not be reached for comment.

The University held a vigil for Edmonson on Wednesday.

“It’s been a very, very long road for us,” Kim Edmondson, the teen’s mother, told ABC News affiliate WVEC-TV at the vigil.

“We went for three days not knowing if my child was in that river, and when they pulled his body out we got a sense of relief,” she said.

The university did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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