Wouldn’t you be irate if your brother Adam was killed in a haze? That’s what literally happened to Mr. Oakes, who died at the hands of a University fraternity.
Oakes’ family said they’re pursuing the legislation in Adam’s honor to deter hazing altogether. They say that if hazing that results in death happens on a Virginia campus, penalties need to be stronger.
Where the two bodies differ is whether the penalty for hazing should be increased from a misdemeanor to a felony.
The House version makes cases resulting in death or serious bodily injury a Class Five felony, a sentence that carries one to 10 years in jail.
The Senate version, however, keeps hazing classified as a misdemeanor with the option to add other charges without that person being in double jeopardy.
Both bills offer incentives for bystanders to call 911 for help, something that Oakes’ family said their loved one didn’t get.
The two sides will likely now head to a conference to hammer out an agreement.
“How can anyone argue hazing someone to death doesn’t deserve a felony. I mean, just doesn’t make sense to us at our family. And we’re going to continue to fight,” Eric Oakes, Adam’s father, said.
“We’re not saying put these kids in jail if they send you to McDonald’s or for cleaning the floor of their bathroom. We’re saying they need a Class Five felony if what they haze and what they do in that hazing causes someone to die,” Courtney White, Adam’s cousin, said.
Sunday will mark one year since the 19-year-old student died due to alcohol poisoning.
The 11 brothers of Delta Chi who are charged with his death are facing Class One misdemeanors.