Hazing charges dropped for 8 allegedly involved in Radford branding incident

By Rachel Lucas - Weekend Anchor / Reporter, Heather Butterworth - Digital Content Producer

RADFORD, Va. - Eight of the seventeen men facing hazing charges after a Radford student was branded by a rogue fraternity were in court Thursday. 

The Commonwealth agreed to drop all the hazing charges for these eight men. The charges stem from an incident that happened in September at a fraternity party off of Radford University's campus. 

The victim told police that he was there pledging the fraternity, which is now no longer recognized by the national organization or the university. He said he drank too much alcohol and was branded on his buttocks after passing out from drinking too much. 

Seven of the men who were in court Thursday were found guilty of purchasing alcohol for a minor. They were given a $500 fine and a suspended 12-month jail sentence, so they will serve no time. Two were found guilty of a common nuisance charge and were fined an additional $100. Another also had a marijuana possession charge, which was dismissed. 

As part of this agreement, these men will not be allowed to contact the victim. 

Here is the list of charges:

Luke Andress, 19, of Vienna, Virginia: All charges dropped 

Kyle Best, 20, of Haymarket: Hazing dropped, guilty of purchasing alcohol for a minor

Christopher Gepford, 22, of Centreville: Hazing dropped, guilty of common nuisance, guilty of purchasing alcohol for a minor 

Caleb Howard, 19, of Manassas: Hazing dropped, guilty of purchasing alcohol 

Joshua Ko, 19, of Fairfax: Hazing dropped, guilty of purchasing alcohol for a minor 

Clayton O'Neill, 21, of Herndon: Hazing dropped, guilty of purchasing alcohol for a minor, guilty of common nuisance, marijuana possession dropped 

Matthew Thomas, 21, of Haymarket: Hazing dropped, guilty of purchasing alcohol for a minor 

Matthew Wedel, 20, of Manassas: Hazing dropped, guilty of purchasing alcohol for a minor 

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