The message was simple, hazing needs to stop. Authorities released details of Philip Dhanen's death, and said the people who played a role in it will be brought to justice.
Philip's mother Diane Dhanens said, "I have been praying for the fraternity brothers since the first time that we met at Saint Agnes hospital while my son Philip lay brain dead in his hospital bed."
A mother's plea for change following a death that could have been prevented. Six months ago Diane and Paul Dhanens buried their son Philip. The 18-year-old fraternity pledge died after a night of heavy drinking.
Fresno District Attorney Elizabeth Egan noted, "This is the devastating reality that binge drinking can kill you."
Tuesday, arrest warrants were issued for three former Theta Chi fraternity members. 28-year-old Leonard Serrato, 24-year-old Aaron Raymo and 22-year-old Daniel Baker are charged with misdemeanor hazing. They're also accused of providing the alcohol that killed Dhanens.
"While these defendants had no prior criminal history, the evidence also does not show they intended for Mr. Dhanens to die, they're actions led to his death."
Dhanens, along with 15 other pledges, were being initiated into the fraternity. 12 of the pledges were underage. Police say they were brought into a small room and couldn't leave until they finished large bottles of hard liquor. Dhanens reportedly consumed 37 shots of alcohol that night.
Fresno State VP of Student Affairs Paul Olario added, "We need to continue to increase our alcohol awareness efforts try to find a lot of different ways to reach students."
Dhanen's death has been a harsh eye-opener. Fresno State officials say the three students being charged could be suspended and even expelled from the university. A message aimed at shedding light on the dangers of hazing, so future tragedies can be prevented.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "We are hopeful that the loss of Philip Dhanens was not in vain that at least the loss of his life can cause a change in this culture."
The three students all face up to a year in jail and a fine of $5,000. Fresno's Theta Chi chapter was closed following this incident. University officials say it will remain closed for at least five years.
Police say two of the men charged bought the alcohol from Cigar World in north Fresno. The two men were of age but surveillance video from the store shows minors carrying the alcohol outside of the store. The Department of Alcohol Beverage Control has been notified.