TEXAS STATE PLEDGE’S DEATH: Autopsy shows blood alcohol content of 0.38


A Texas State University fraternity pledge found dead in November at an off-campus apartment following a fraternity event had a blood alcohol content of 0.38, according to an autopsy report obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV.

Matthew McKinley Ellis, 20, had a level that was more than four times the legal limit to drive in Texas. He weighed 153 pounds.

Ellis did not have drugs in his system, according to the report, and his death has been ruled accidental ethanol toxicity by the Travis County Medical Examiner’s office, which performed the autopsy on behalf of Hays County, where Ellis died.

No charges have been filed in his death, which prompted Texas State officials to suspend all Greek activities.

READ: Texas State fraternity was under investigation before pledge’s death

Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau said Friday that “we should be reviewing the case soon to determine whether the evidence in the case justifies further action and if so what further action.”

Anyone who furnished alcohol to Ellis — the drinking age in Texas is 21 — could face charges. Under Texas law, hazing is a misdemeanor unless it results in a death, in which case the charge can be elevated to a felony.

Ellis, who was from Humble, near Houston, was a business administration major. He was pledging Texas State’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, and officials have said he was attending an off-campus social event hosted by the organization the prior evening.

Officials pronounced Ellis dead at the apartment after his friends noticed that he wasn’t breathing and called 911.

His death came about a week after the fraternity’s national organization ordered its Texas State chapter to cease social activities because of an ongoing investigation, university officials confirmed. Texas State began the investigation Oct. 4 based on a complaint it received Sept. 21. The university would not disclose the nature of the complaint.

Ellis was the second Texas State student to die in a little more than a year after attending an off-campus Greek event. In October 2016, 20-year-old Jordin Taylor, a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, was fatally struck and dragged by a bus near Martindale.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Community news: ACC hosts open house Saturday

TRAVIS COUNTY EAST AUSTIN ACC hosts open house Saturday Austin Community College’s Health Sciences Division will host an open house for those interested in exploring careers in health care from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Eastview campus, 3401 Webberville Road. Community members and prospective students can tour facilities, view demonstrations...
Man and woman seriously injured in East Austin stabbing
Man and woman seriously injured in East Austin stabbing

Update 11:30 p.m.: Three people were taken to a hospital for stab wounds on Sunday night. Police were conducting an investigation underneath and around the Pleasant Valley Road overpass near 7th Street in East Austin. A third person was also taken to Dell Seton Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries about an hour after two others were rushed...
Texas Digest: Baby hippo dies at Dallas Zoo

DALLAS Hippopotamus born at zoo exhibit dies The first hippopotamus born at a new Dallas Zoo exhibit has died. Zoo officials said a female hippo gave birth early Saturday to her first calf, but she did not help the newborn to the surface of the pool soon enough, The Dallas Morning News reported. Harrison Edell, the zoo’s vice president of animal...
DPS trooper is shot east of San Antonio
DPS trooper is shot east of San Antonio

A Department of Public Safety trooper was shot in eastern Bexar County while pursuing a suspect around 3:20 p.m. on Sunday, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The incident occurred near Interstate 10 and Graytown Road, SAEN reports, and a suspect may have been shot as well. The Express-News reports that San Antonio police and Bexar County deputies...
Third-graders in Missouri selling raffle tickets for AR-15 weapon
Third-graders in Missouri selling raffle tickets for AR-15 weapon

Selling raffle tickets to benefit an athletic team is not new, but having an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon as the prize is drawing heavy criticism in the wake of the shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 and injured dozens, The Kansas City Star reported. Third-graders in the southern Missouri city of Neosho were selling the tickets to...
More Stories