Eight enter innocent pleas in fraternity prank retaliation

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Eight men pleaded innocent Tuesday to charges they sneaked into and spray painted a room of a rival fraternity house.

On Oct. 24, members of the Southeast Missouri State University fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha reported blue squiggles, profanity and lewd drawings in a lodge room known as the Pikes Only room.

The spray painting was an alleged retaliation for Pi Kappa Alpha members stealing a fraternity mascot, a goat, from the Sigma Chi lodge on Oct. 21.

Of the eight who appeared in court, seven were charged with misdemeanor trespassing and misdemeanor property damage: Brian C. Beckring, 18, of Towers Complex; Patrick J. Betley, 19, of O'Fallon, Mo.; Brett A. Fay, 19, of Towers Complex; Nathaniel W. Mathes, 19, of Dearmont Hall; Geoffrey J. Peterson, 19, of Towers Complex; Steven M. Taylor, 20, of Group Housing; and Ryan A. Zust, 20, of Towers Complex.

Karl F. Gokenbacuh, 23, of Group Housing, was just charged with misdemeanor property damage.

Mathes and Zust were not associated with Sigma Chi. Betley no longer attends the university, nor is he active with the fraternity.

All eight entered their innocent plea before Associate Circuit Judge Scott Thomsen, who scheduled the defendants to return to court March 28.

A ninth defendant, Kevin M. Weber, 20, was being sought.

Charges against the three men accused of stealing the goat were dropped when the defendants completed community service required by the university for the theft.

kmorrison@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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