Three charged in NIU hazing incident in court Friday - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Three charged in NIU hazing incident in court Friday

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David Bogenberger David Bogenberger
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Three of the five young men charged with felonies in the alcohol hazing death of a Northern Illinois University freshman made their first court appearance Friday.

The frat leaders are among a total of 22 members of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity at NIU charged with hazing and providing alcohol to a minor.

Police say that student, David Bogenberger, 19, died inside the frat house in early November while taking part in an unsanctioned pledge ritual.

As they left court in Sycamore, the frat leaders said nothing--keeping their eyes straight ahead to avoid reporters.

A few miles away in DeKalb, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house sits empty. The frat was stripped of its charter after the body of Bogenberger was discovered in a room, dead of alcohol poisoning, the day after a fraternity pledge event.

While none of those charged had anything to say about Bogenberger, the attorney for 20-year-old Steven Libert of Naperville said he's remorseful.

"It's been difficult for Steven as well. Because David was a friend of his," attorney Josh Dieden says. "With that said, I'm sure it pales in comparison with the difficulties the family is going through."

Omar Salameh, 21, of Oak Lawn and James Harvey, 21, of DeKalb also making their first court appearance Friday.

Prosecutors say they were charged with felony hazing because they orchestrated the pledge party and were among the frat leaders who ordered the pledges to drink.

Toxicology results found Bogenberger had a blood alcohol level five times the legal limit when he died, but Libert's attorney says felony charges are too strong for what he characterizes as a tragic accident.

"I don't believe the state will be able to show that this tragic occurrence is the result of criminal conduct. And specifically criminal conduct by Mr. Libert," Dieden says.

FOX 32 received an email from David Bogenberger's parents reacting to Friday's court appearances. They wrote, "we hope that those responsible for our son's death are held accountable and that justice will prevail."

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