Men charged with spray painting Pike lodge nearly done with service

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The attorney for eight men charged with spray painting a rival fraternity's lodge said Tuesday the defendants were nearing completion of community service required by Southeast Missouri State University and their fraternity.

The men are accused of spray painting a room in the Pi Kappa Alpha lodge Oct. 24 in retaliation for those members stealing a goat from Sigma Chi, of which most defendants are members.

Ken McManaman, who represents the eight, said that at the next court hearing on April 25, the defendants will bring in letters from the university stating they completed community service required by Southeast.

McManaman will present the letters to prosecutors and Associate Circuit Judge Scott Thomsen. None of the defendants have pleaded guilty to the charges, which include trespassing and property damage.

Those defendants who are members of the Sigma Chi fraternity were expected to have completed an additional 40 hours of community service required by the fraternity by the next hearing, McManaman said.

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

Karl F. Gokenbach, 23, of Group Housing, was charged only with misdemeanor property damage.

Mathes and Zust were not associated with Sigma Chi. Betley no longer attends the university.

Charges against the 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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