- By Tony Plohetski American-Statesman Staff, KVUE News
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.
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.