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Hazing case moves ahead

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 San Luis Obispo judge Hugh Mullin on Jan. 11 rejected defense motions to dismiss prosecution of two men accused of hazing in the alcohol-related death of a Cal Poly undergraduate, clearing the way for a trial later this year.

Haithem Ibrahim and Zacary Ellis are facing felony hazing charges in connection with the death of Carson Starkey, an 18-year-old Cal Poly freshman from Austin, Texas, who died in 2008 from alcohol poisoning after attending a fraternity initiation.

 Lawyers for Ibrahim and Ellis unsuccessfully argued the prosecutor’s case should be dismissed because there was insufficient evidence presented during a preliminary hearing in August. They said they would appeal.

Ibrahim is charged with a felony for hazing and a misdemeanor for permitting a minor to consume alcohol. Ibrahim was Starkey’s big brother at the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Ellis was the fraternity’s pledge educator and coordinator of the event. Ellis is also charged with a felony and a misdemeanor.

As in previous court appearances, parents of the defendants and of Starkey attended. They sat on opposite sides of the courtroom and did not interact. Lawyers for Russell Taylor and Adam Marszal, two other fraternity brothers who are facing misdemeanor charges in connection with the incident, took notes on the proceedings.

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