Jury finds BGSU students guilty of hazing Stone Foltz, not guilty of homicide, manslaughter

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the charges of which a jury found Troy Henricksen guilty. He was convicted of eight counts of hazing and seven counts of failure to comply with underage drinking laws.

After nearly seven hours of deliberation Friday, a Wood County jury found two former Bowling Green State University fraternity brothers guilty of hazing and other misdemeanor charges in the death of freshman Stone Foltz, but not guilty of reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter charges.

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Jacob Krinn, 21, of Delaware, was found guilty of hazing, failure to comply with underage alcohol laws, and obstructing official business, all misdemeanors.

The jury found him not guilty of first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, third-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, and felony charges of reckless homicide and felonious assault.

Krinn was Foltz's fraternity Big Brother, who was supposed to mentor him as a new member of Pi Kappa Alpha – the BGSU fraternity better known as PIKE.

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Defendant Jacob Krinn, 21, of Delaware, listens May 17 during his criminal trial for the hazing death of Bowling Green State University freshman Stone Foltz at the Wood County Courthouse.

Troy Henricksen, 24, of Grove City, was found guilty of  eight counts of hazing and seven counts of failure to comply with underage alcohol laws, all misdemeanors.

The jury found him not guilty of felony charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, and tampering with evidence.

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Henricksen was the PIKE chapter's pledge educator. He worked most closely with the fraternity's new members and planned the "Big Little Night" initiation that Foltz and his fellow pledges attended.

Foltz, a 20-year-old sophomore from Delaware, died three days later on March 7, 2021 of fatal alcohol intoxication.

Hazing was a fourth-degree misdemeanor at the time Henricksen and Krinn were charged. At sentencing, each count carries a potential maximum jail sentence of 30 days and a fine of up to $250.

Obstructing justice and obstructing official business, both second-degree misdemeanors in Ohio, are punishable by a maximum 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

The penalty the two defendants face for each count of furnishing alcohol to a minor is up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

Defendant Troy Henricksen, 24, of Grove City, listens May 17 during his criminal trial for the hazing death of Bowling Green State University freshman Stone Foltz at the Wood County Courthouse.

Following the verdict, Krinn’s Columbus-based attorney Sam Shamansky said he was ecstatic with the jury’s decisions.

“I’m grateful to this jury, beyond relieved and the happiest man in the world right now,” Shamansky said. “It’s been like hell on earth for Jacob. He was wrongfully accused of being a killer and he has been waiting month after month, week after week, and day after day for his day in court.”

Shamansky said Krinn is remorseful for Foltz’s death, but the jury agreed he wasn’t responsible for causing it.

“He is the kind of young man you want for your son,” Shamansky said.

Henricksen’s Cleveland-based attorney, Eric Long, said after the verdict that there were mixed emotions.

He said Henricksen and his family were grateful that the jury found him not guilty on all three felony counts, but are upset that he was branded a killer by the prosecutor during the trial.

Long said Henricksen plans to continue pursuing a career in the Army and is anxious to put the legal proceedings behind him.

Long said Henricksen doesn’t regret being an active member of PIKE, or having a leadership role in the fraternity, but he does feel some regret that he wasn’t able to do more to stop the tragedy of Foltz’s death.

“Does he regret he wasn’t there? ... I think, as he told police, if he had been there none of us might be here today,” Long said. “I don’t think anyone who knew Mr. Foltz or was involved doesn’t have some regret they could have done something differently.”

Foltz family urges Greek fraternities and colleges to end hazing

Shari and Cory Foltz, Stone's parents, sat through each day of the trial along with Shari's sister, DJ Williams.

"As we sat in the courtroom day after day listening to excruciating testimony about Stone’s final moments, we grieved," the family said in a statement. "Not just for the senseless death of our beloved eldest son, but for the lives of the young men who are now being held accountable for their reckless and self-serving actions."

The Foltzes said they needed to hear the details about what happened to their son the night he died, and they are grateful to the Wood County prosecutors who took on the case.

"It didn’t have to be this way, and make no mistake, it will happen again until Greek organizations and the universities that support them end hazing for good," the family's said. "... While the trial is concluded, our commitment to Stone lives on. We will not rest until hazing is eradicated on all university campuses."

The Foltz family is still involved in pending civil litigation against former PIKE members.

Rex Elliott, the Foltz family attorney, said Stone’s family is pleased with the verdict, but sitting through the two week trial has been excruciating.

Rex H. Elliott,. attornery for the family of Stone Foltz who died in a hazing incident at Bowling Green University, poses for a portrait on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 in Dublin, Ohio.

“They are satisfied with the verdict, are extraordinarily appreciative the excellent job the state did and think the jury took their job seriously,” Elliott said.  Elliott said Krinn, Henrickson, and the other PIKE members convicted in this case "mirrored learned behaviors that should have been stopped years ago."

“Year after year, decade after decade there are senseless young deaths due to hazing. I hope this communicates to all these kids that they need to think twice about hazing," he said. "These kids have to take responsibility but where are the national fraternities and the universities? These kids are behaving in a system set up by the adults in the Greek organizations and universities.”

Surrounded by the families of the late Collin Wiant and Stone Foltz, as well as other state lawmakers, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on July 6, 2021 signs Ohio's Anti-Hazing Act, also known as "Collin's Law," at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. The bill is named after Collin Wiant, who died during a hazing incident in 2018 as a freshman at Ohio University, and makes hazing a felony.

What happened the night Stone Foltz was hazed at BGSU?

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Krinn gave Foltz a liter of Evan Williams bourbon at the Big Little Night, an initiation event where pledges were paired with actives to mentor them in a Big Brother/Little Brother relationship, on March 4, 2021.

It was at that event, planned by pledge educator Henricksen, that Foltz drank the bottle of bourbon in about 20 minutes. Krinn dropped Foltz off at his apartment later that night.

After his roommate found Foltz unconscious hours later, he was taken to a local hospital, where he died three days later of fatal alcohol intoxication.

Eight men were initially charged in connection with Foltz's death. Six of the men pleaded guilty.

Sentencing for all eight men will take place in July.

Sheridan Hendrix is a higher education reporter at the Columbus Dispatch. You can reach her at shendrix@dispatch.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @sheridan120. Sign up for her Mobile Newsroom newsletter here and her education newsletter here.

Mike Wagner is an investigative reporter at the Columbus Dispatch. You can reach him at mwagner@dispatch.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @MikeWagner48.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Stone Foltz hazing trial: Verdict in for former BGSU students