6 Del. Students Charged Following Student Death Investigation

Six University of Delaware students were arrested following an investigation into the death of a fellow student who died at a fraternity party back in November 2008.

Brett Griffin, an 18-year-old freshman, died at the Sigma Alpha Mu house in Newark, Del.  Alcohol poisoning was looked at as the cause of death after paramedics found him in cardiac arrest at the off-campus house.

All six students arrested were pledges or members of the fraternity, according to police. 

The charges come after police searched the fraternity house while investigating Griffin’s death. The charges do not imply direct culpability in Griffin’s death, police said.

Here’s what officials say was found in the house and the charges the students face:

Bassett and Fiume collected money before the party to buy the alcohol. Fiume then went to buy it with someone over 21-years-old, police said.

Investigators found drugs in Bassett’s drawer and seized marijuana, cash, a scale, plastic baggies and a list of people who apparently owe Bassett money, officials said.

Bassett was charged with Providing Alcohol to a Minor, Conspiracy 3rd Degree, Criminal Solicitation 3rd Degree, Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana, Maintaining a Dwelling for Drugs, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. 

Fiume was charged with Providing Alcohol to a Minor, Conspiracy 3rd Degree, and Criminal Solicitation 3rd Degree. 

  • Justin Seeney, 20, was charged with Underage Possession of Alcohol and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after police found a bud grinder (grinds up marijuana) and opened bottle of Jack Daniels in his bedroom, according to investigators.
  • Michael J. Ciccarelli, 20, was charged with Underage Possession of Alcohol after police found beer in his room, officials said.
  • Joseph Ciarletta, 19, was charged with Underage Consumption of Alcohol. During an interview with police, Ciarletta appeared to have been drinking with blood-shot eyes and slurred speech, police said.
  • Henry Vieluf, 19, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Police found a bud grinder in his bedroom, officials said.

The University of Delaware issued the following statement:

"On behalf of the entire University community, our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Brett Griffin.  The University cooperated fully with the City of Newark Police in the investigation into Mr. Griffin's death. We take the announced charges levied by the state Attorney General's Office against the individuals very seriously. The University is investigating the facts surrounding this case and will take all appropriate action with the individual students and the student organization named in these arrests. Since this is an active investigation, it would be inappropriate for the University to comment on student conduct charges that may arise, or to speculate on the potential final results of University-led judicial proceedings.”

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