Fresno State hazing death case coming closer to an end

Nearly two years after the hazing death of a Fresno State fraternity pledge -- the cases are coming closer to an end.
Nearly two years after the hazing death of a Fresno State fraternity pledge -- the cases are coming closer to an end.

Leonard Serrato, Aaron Raymo and Daniel Baker all faced charges in connection with an August 2012 party, which ended with the death of 18-year-old Philip Dhanens.

Former fraternity member Leonard Serrato stood before a judge and pleaded no contest to charges that he played a role in the death of 18-year-old Philip Dhanens.

Nearly two years ago, Dhanens, was a Theta Chi pledge at Fresno State, when police say he was egged on by brothers to drink dozens of shots. Dhanens had a point four blood alcohol level when he died. Serrato was one of the members who purchased that alcohol.

Serrato's defense attorney Jeff Hammerschmidt said, "This has had a huge effect on a number of people including Mr. Serrato and his family. He is very remorseful that this young man, passed away at such an early age from this type of tragedy and he accepts responsibility for his actions and we'll move forward from here."

Serrato will be sentenced on September 16th and could face up to a year in jail.
Meanwhile, the case of another co-defendant, the former president of the fraternity, Daniel Baker, came to an end in July, instead of going to trial.

"Mr. Baker had always really wanted to resolve this matter," said Baker's defense attorney Antonio Alvarez. "He's felt responsible for this pretty much from day one."

Alvarez says Baker was sentenced to a 30 day work program and 200 hours of community service, which he plans to use to speak about the dangers of hazing and drinking.

"It's a horrible situation for all involved including my client and especially for the victim's family," said Alvarez. "It's tough for the parents, sending off your child to college and having them not come back."

A tragic ending for one and an emotional burden for everyone else involved.



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