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

Austin police officer who killed Morgan Rankins won’t face criminal charges, DA says
Austin police officer who killed Morgan Rankins won’t face criminal charges, DA says

An Austin police officer who shot and killed 30-year-old Morgan London Rankins in 2017 will not face criminal charges, according to Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore. The officer, Benjamin Rogers, shot Rankins on Feb. 22 after, according to police, she charged him with a knife. The events that led to the shooting began when police received...
TODAY: Austin police discussing school safety as students head back to class
TODAY: Austin police discussing school safety as students head back to class

Austin police on Thursday will discuss school safety as students head back to class this week. The Police Department has scheduled a news conference at 1 p.m. to offer tips to students and parents. Austin school district students return to campuses on Monday, but other districts throughout the region opened their doors this week. School safety has...
Floodgates at Tom Miller Dam will be replaced starting next week, LCRA says
Floodgates at Tom Miller Dam will be replaced starting next week, LCRA says

The Lower Colorado River Authority is investing nearly $10 million to replace the time-worn floodgates at Tom Miller Dam. The project is set to begin next week, and isn’t expected to cause any problems for boaters on Lake Austin. The dam has nine floodgates that are used to send floodwaters downstream to help control the water supply in the Austin...
Community news: Housing voucher wait list reopens

TRAVIS COUNTY AUSTIN Housing voucher list reopens The Housing Authority of the city of Austin will accept online pre-applications for the Housing Choice Voucher program, formerly known as Section 8, from Sept. 17 through 24, for the first time in four years. Applicants may apply for free at hacaapply.org, and applications typically take five to 10...
Man charged with stalking girlfriend for months before choking her, police say 
Man charged with stalking girlfriend for months before choking her, police say 

A man suspected of sending threatening messages to his girlfriend for two months before choking her was arrested on Thursday, court documents say. James Tate, 39, has been charged with stalking and felony assault strangulation, court documents show. Police said Tate began sending text messages and leaving voicemails threatening to kill his girlfriend...
More Stories