RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Andrew White, 23, one of the 11 charged in connection to the death of VCU freshman Adam Oakes, was sentenced to 24 months in Richmond’s Justice Center but will not serve the jail time as part of a Commonwealth suspension agreement.
Oakes was 19 years old when he was found dead from alcohol poisoning the morning after a Delta Chi fraternity event at which the Commonwealth said he was ordered to drink a substantial amount of alcohol. It was found that his blood-alcohol level was .40, five times the legal limit.
Feb. 27, 2022, signified one year since Oakes’ death. His family and friends gathered at the location where his body was found at 138 W. Clay St. to lay a memorial in his honor.
White’s sentencing took place Tuesday morning in Richmond Circuit Court with Hon. Claire Cardwell presiding.
White pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of unlawful hazing and providing alcohol to a person under the age of 21 back in December.
As part of the presented evidence, the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Alison Martin read statements on behalf of the Oakes family, describing the impact that the loss has had on them.
In the statements, Oakes’ parents, Eric and Linda, explained how they leave his bedroom door closed while they pretend he’s sleeping, and how those who “want to spend time with him” are now forced to visit his grave.
White, Oakes’ “big brother” in the Delta Chi fraternity, turned to face the Oakes family as he read an apology letter. He described feeling “soul-shaking pain” when he first heard the news of Oakes’ passing. He admitted that Oakes might have still been alive, had White acted differently. White expressed “deep regret” for providing Oakes with the alcohol that eventually ended up killing him.
In the judge’s verdict, Cardwell described the events as a “cultural problem” and an “issue with fraternity life.”
Cardwell accepted the agreement proposed by White’s counsel and suspended the entire sentence upon five conditions.
The conditions specified good behavior, supervised probation, completion of restorative justice programs, 100 hours of community service, and five community service presentations regarding anti-hazing by the Love Like Adam Foundation.
There are still pending charges against 10 other former Delta Chi fraternity members.
As the Love Like Adam website recites, “Adam was a beloved son, grandson, nephew, cousin, and friend. He will be remembered for his warm disposition, kindness, sweet smile, giant bear hugs, and loving heart. All who knew him loved him and he loved them.”