NIU Fraternity Brothers Charged in Hazing Death Head to Court

Attorney predicts prosecution will have trouble proving criminal case against his client

Three Northern Illinois University fraternity brothers charged in the hazing death of a freshman pledge made appearances in a DeKalb County court on Friday, with one attorney saying he felt it would be difficult for prosecutors to prove a criminal case against his client.

David Bogenberger was found dead the morning of Nov. 2 at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house near the DeKalb campus. Toxicology tests showed his blood-alcohol concentration was about five times the legal limit for driving.

Josh Diedn, the attorney representing 20-year-old Steven Libert, expressed condolences to the Bogenberger family.

"This was a terrible tragedy. This has been difficult on Steven, as well, because David was a friend of his. With that said, though, I'm sure it pales in comparison with the difficulties that the family is going through as well," said attorney Josh Diedn.

However, Diedn said he didn't believe the state would "be able to show that this tragic occurrence was the result of criminal conduct."

Appearing in court Friday were Libert, Pi Kappa Alpha's event planner, as well as 21-year-old pledge advisor Omar Salameh, and 21-year-old fraternity vice president James Harvey.

Two other fraternity leaders, fraternity president Alexander Jandik, 21, and secretary Patrick Merrill, 19, as well as 17 other fraternity members, have also been charged.

The brothers are accused of hosting the party in which pledges were ordered to go from room to room chugging alcohol.

The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity has since lost its status as a recognized student organization on campus.

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