Penn State Hazing Linked to Freshman's Suicide

Police investigate possible criminal case on Altoona campus
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2014 7:24 PM CDT
Penn State Hazing Linked to Freshman's Suicide

Another potential case of murder charges related to college hazing: An 18-year-old freshman at Penn State Altoona killed himself last week while home on spring break on Long Island by jumping from the roof of a hotel, reports CNN. Police are investigating reports that hazing drove Marquise Braham to commit suicide, and the local police chief says it could result in homicide charges. "Depending on the nature of what this hazing was, it could rise to an assault, and if this young man was distraught over what happened, whether he received hazing or was part of it, we can link that to the perpetrators." One twist in this case is that Braham's family thinks the main problem was that Braham was the haz-er, not the haz-ee, and felt guilty about it, reports the Altoona Mirror.

Braham served as the fraternity secretary of his Phi Sigma Kappa chapter and participated in the hazing of pledges, says a family spokesperson. A photo from his cellphone obtained by the Mirror shows a young man blindfolded with a gun to his head (apparently a pledge, not Braham), and texts refer to the use of the drug ecstasy within the frat. Before his suicide, Braham reportedly spoke to an aunt about his need to confess. "It's what happened in Altoona that sent him off the roof of the Marrott in New York," says his father, Rich. "It's clear he didn't want to go back there." The school has suspended the fraternity while the investigation continues, and Braham's former frat brothers aren't talking to police, reports WJAC. (Read more Penn State stories.)

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