UPDATE: ‘Too early to know’ if criminal charges will result from Texas State fraternity death, San Marcos police say


3:15 p.m. update: San Marcos police are now saying it’s too early to know if criminal charges will be filed in connection to the death of a Texas State student and Phi Kappa Psi pledge on Monday.

“This is an ongoing investigation, and it’s too early to know if criminal charges will be warranted,” said Police Chief Chase Stapp in a statement. “Once all the evidence is known, if we have probable cause to file charges we’ll work with the district attorney’s office to move forward at that time.”

Authorities say friends on Monday morning found 20-year-old Matthew Ellis unresponsive at a San Marcos apartment after attending an off-campus fraternity event. He was pronounced dead shortly after.

Police also said the investigation into Ellis’ death “will potentially take months” pending toxicology results.

Earlier: The death of a Texas State fraternity pledge after an off-campus social event will likely result in criminal charges based on a preliminary review of evidence, San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp told the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV Tuesday.

“I think it is pretty likely we are going to have some kind of criminal case,” Stapp said. “Once we know the complete picture, we will have to have discussions with the district attorney on the most appropriate course of actions. It’s not going to be overnight by any means.”

The death comes about a week after the national chapter of Phi Kappa Psi ordered the Texas State chapter to cease its social activities because of an on-going investigation, university officials confirmed Tuesday. Texas State had launched an investigation Oct. 4 based on a complaint it had received in late September. The university would not disclose the nature of those allegations.

Stapp said it likely will take a month to six weeks before a decision is made because officials will want to wait for a full autopsy, which he said will be a critical evidence in the case and would show blood alcohol level for 20-year-old Matthew McKinley Ellis, who was pledging Texas State’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

San Marcos police say Ellis was dead when friends found him around 11 a.m. Monday. The university said he had attended a fraternity event off campus. The university on Tuesday suspended all Greek activity.

“Any death in our community we take seriously and especially the death of a young person like this who had so much ahead of him,” Stapp said. “In any case like this, if there are appropriate charges that can be proven, the intent is to file them.”

Under Texas law, hazing is a Class A misdemeanor unless it results in a death, in which case the charge can be elevated to a felony.



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