Latest in Rider Univ. alcohol case

October 17, 2008 8:09:03 AM PDT
The last remaining defendant in the case surrounding the alcohol poisoning death of a Rider University freshman has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.Michael Torney of Randolph pleaded guilty to the disorderly persons offense of hazing. The charge does not come with jail time.

The 22-year-old Phi Kappa Tau president was charged even though he was not in the room at a party where Gary DeVercelly Jr. drank two-thirds of a bottle of Vodka.

DeVercelly, an 18-year-old freshman from Long Beach, Calif., was a pledge at Phi Kappa Tau when he attended a party there on March 28, 2007, and drank most of a bottle of vodka. He had a blood-alcohol level of 0.426 percent, or more than five times New Jersey's legal limit for driving, when he was pronounced dead March 30 at a Trenton hospital, authorities have said.

Two university administrators were also indicted in the case - the charges were eventually dropped against the officials at the private central New Jersey college.

Earlier this year, Torney agreed to pay $150,000 as part of a legal settlement with DeVercelly's family.

The other students in the case pleaded guilty and entered a pretrial intervention program that could keep their records clean.