Another former Ohio University student pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges in the Athens County Court of Common Pleas related to the November 2018 death of an OU student pledge of a now-expelled university fraternity chapter.
Collin Wiant, an 18-year-old Ohio University student, died in November 2018 while at the reported annex of the Sigma Pi OU chapter at 45 Mill St. in Athens. As previously reported by The Athens NEWS, that chapter has since been expelled by the university.
Elijah Robert Wahib, 22, of Westlake, appeared via video before the Athens County Court of Common Pleas on June 23. Wahib entered a guilty plea to two counts of obstructing justice, felonies of the fifth degree; permitting drug abuse, a felony of the fifth degree and two counts of hazing, misdemeanors of the fourth degree, according to a statement issued by the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.
Judge Patrick J. Lang ordered Wahib to complete the Prosecutor’s Office Athens County Empowerment (A.C.E.) Program and held his guilty plea in abeyance, pending completion of the program for the felony charges.
On the misdemeanor hazing charges, Lang sentenced Wahib to 31 days in jail.
“I continue to work with the Wiant family to amend the Hazing Laws in Ohio to make this kind of behavior punishable as a felony in the future,” Prosecutor Blackburn stated in a press release. “This fraternity, like many other social clubs, go through a cycle of an individual being hazed as a pledge to then becoming a member and hazing others. This case shows members inflicting the same or worse on their next victim. It is my hope, along with the Wiants, to stop this vicious cycle.”
This case was investigated by the Athens Police Department, Major Crimes Unit and the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.
In May of this year, another former OU student, Saxon Angell-Perez, pleaded guilty to charges relating to Wiant’s death, and in February, two other former Ohio University students and one current student pleaded guilty to charges. Dominic A. Figliola, 21, of Athens; Cullen Willi McLaughlin, 21, of Northfield, Ohio; and Zachary Herskovitz, 22, of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania – all former members of the Sigma Pi OU fraternity chapter – had similar sentences to participate in the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office’s diversion program.
In total, seven former OU Sigma Pi members were indicted in November 2018 on charges relating to the death of Wiant. Cases are still pending against the other three former fraternity members, as well as three men who worked for the Silver Serpent business in Athens that allegedly sold the nitrous oxide that Wiant reportedly ingested and contributed to his death, The Athens NEWS previously reported.
Criminal cases are still pending for four other people indicted as part of the investigation of Wiant’s death:
Joshua Thomas Androsac, of Lewis Center, Ohio, charged with permitting drug abuse, a felony of the fifth degree; hazing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree; involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree; two counts of trafficking in harmful intoxicants, felonies of the fifth degree.
Stephan Brent Lewis, trafficking in harmful Intoxicants, a felony of the fifth degree; and improperly dispensing or distributing nitrous oxide, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. Lewis worked at Silver Serpent (and may still). Brent also pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Wednesday morning in Athens County Common Pleas Court, and was released on his own recognizance.
James Dylan Wanke/Silver Serpent, LLC, charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree; two counts of trafficking in harmful intoxicants, felonies of the fifth degree; involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the third degree; and improperly dispensing or distributing nitrous oxide, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
Corbin Michael Gustafson, reckless homicide, a felony of the third degree.