Three men indicted on charges related to the death of Collin Wiant in November 2018 appeared before Judge Patrick Lang for arraignment Wednesday morning.
James Wanke, Dominic Figliola and Saxon Angell-Perez all pleaded not guilty to their charges. The men were three of the nine indicted for Wiant’s death.
James Wanke, 25, the owner of Silver Serpent Exotic Gifts, pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter, a first degree felony, two counts of trafficking in harmful intoxicants, fifth degree felony; involuntary manslaughter, a third degree felony and improperly dispensing or distributing nitrous oxide, a fourth degree misdemeanor.
Wanke was released on a recognizance bond, which means he has to appear at all court hearings and can be incarcerated with new charges if he fails to appear in court. Wanke had also made plans to travel to Nevada for a business conference, which the state will allow him to go to.
Wanke was enrolled at OU from spring 2015 to spring 2016 and is currently not enrolled. His jury trial is set for Jan. 28, 2020.
Silver Serpent is also a defendant. The state asked that Wanke and Silver Serpent stop selling any form of nitrous oxide at Court Street and East State Street locations. The locations will also be open to any inspections by law enforcement.
Bob Toy, Wanke’s lawyer, said Wanke did not sell any nitrous oxide products to anyone.
“In reference to Silver Serpent, I believe it’s a bit of a bit of a stretch,” Toy said. “More than a bit of a stretch to charge him with involuntary manslaughter.”
Toy brought a canister of nitrous oxide that he purchased online to show how easy it is for anyone to purchase one.
“They are charging my client with involuntary manslaughter, but anyone can buy this off the internet,” Toy said.
Stephan Lewis, 27, an employee of Silver Serpent, is also being charged with trafficking in harmful intoxicants and improperly dispensing or distributing nitrous oxide. He appeared was released on his own recognizance on Tuesday and is scheduled for a jury trial on Dec. 21.
Dominic Figliola, of Athens, pleaded not guilty to charges of drug abuse, a fifth degree felony; hazing, fourth degree misdemeanor; aggravated trafficking in drugs, a felony of the fourth degree; and failure to comply with underage alcohol laws, an unclassified misdemeanor.
Figliola, who is also represented by Toy, was released on a recognizance bond. He was asked to complete a drug and alcohol assessment. He is not allowed to drink alcohol, go to a bar or consume drugs.
Figliola was also asked to not to be in contact with other co-defendants. Assistant Prosecutor Meg Saunders said during the investigation, a number of cell phones were recovered and found they were communicating with one another.
He was enrolled at OU from fall 2016 to spring 2019 and is not currently enrolled. Since he is not enrolled in school, he will not be staying in the Athens area.
Figliola’s jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 28, 2020.
Saxon Angell-Perez, of Columbus, pleaded not guilty to permitting drug abuse, a fifth degree felony; hazing, fourth degree misdemeanor; and trafficking in cocaine, a fifth degree felony.
Angell-Perez, who was represented by lawyer Andrew Grillo, was released on a recognizance bond. He was asked to complete a drug and alcohol assessment. He is not allowed to drink alcohol, go to a bar or consume drugs. He was also given permission to travel out of Ohio.
Angell-Perez currently enrolled at OU and has been a student since fall 2016. His jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 30, 2020.