Home City Three people plead not guilty in connection to death of Collin Wiant

Three people plead not guilty in connection to death of Collin Wiant

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Several arraignments in the Collin Wiant case occured Thursday morning.

Three defendants connected to the death of 18-year-old Sigma Pi pledge Collin Wiant were arraigned Wednesday morning and pleaded not guilty before a judge in the Athens County Court of Common Pleas. 

James Dylan Wanke, the owner of Silver Serpent Exotic Gifts, pleaded not guilty to all charges. Wanke has five charges filed against him, including two separate charges of involuntary manslaughter, felonies of the first and third degree; two counts of trafficking harmful intoxicants, felonies of the fifth degree; and improperly dispensing nitrous oxide, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

Assistant Prosecutor Meg Saunders requested for Wanke to be released on his own recognizance with the standard conditions of bail. Saunders additionally requested that Wanke stop the sale of nitrous oxide in all Silver Serpent locations, as well as opening stores to inspection by law enforcement. Judge Patrick L. Lang granted the request.

Bob Toy, Wanke’s defense attorney, presented that anyone can purchase nitrous oxide canisters — also known as “whippets,” which caused Wiant’s death, according to the autopsy — at major retailers. 

“Why don’t they charge the Bezos or Walmart family?” Toy said in an interview following the arraignment, arguing that forms of nitrous oxide can be purchased from both companies. “You can buy everything to make it online, go take a look.”

Dominic Figliola, a previous member of the Sigma Pi fraternity, also pleaded not guilty to all charges. His charges included: permitting drug abuse, a felony of the fifth degree; aggravated trafficking in drugs, a felony of the fourth degree; and failure to comply with underage alcohol laws, an unclassified misdemeanor.

Saunders requested for Figliola to be released on his own recognizance with the standard conditions of bail with the additional request that he does not drink alcohol or do drugs during the entirety of the case, which was granted by Lang

Saxon Angell-Perez, a student, also plead not guilty to all charges. He was charged with permitting drug abuse, a felony of the fifth degree; hazing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree; and trafficking in cocaine, a felony of the fifth degree.

Saunders requested for the release of Angell-Perez on his own recognizance with the standard conditions of bail, adding that he must contact a health recovery service for an assessment because of the history of drug use pertaining to the case.The request was granted by Lang.

Lang set the trial by jury for Jan. 28 for defendants Wanke and Figliola. Perez’s trial was set for Jan. 30.

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