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Owner of Silver Serpent in Athens, Ohio, James Wanke, walks away from the judge's stand after pleading not guilty to his charges involving Collin Wiant's death.

Silver Serpent general manager dismissed of manslaughter charges in Collin Wiant case

Correction appended.

Silver Serpent Exotic Gifts and its general manager James Wanke were both dismissed of two charges of felony involuntary manslaughter in the criminal case regarding the wrongful death of Collin Wiant in 2018. 

Athens Court of Common Pleas Judge Patrick Lang dismissed Silver Serpent and Wanke of charges of first degree and third degree involuntary manslaughter on Tuesday. Silver Serpent and Wanke are still facing three felony trafficking in harmful intoxicants charges and a misdemeanor for improperly dispensing or distributing nitrous oxide charge. 

“This motion comes after reviewing the status of negotiations through council, dispositions in similar cases, and the lack of availability of blood and/or body fluids for independent testing. The immediate family of the victim has been consulted on this decision and is in agreement with the dismissal,” according to the motion submitted by Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.

Silver Serpent employee Stephan Lewis was found guilty of two misdemeanors in June: conspiracy to traffic harmful intoxicants and improperly dispensing or distributing nitrous oxide.

Silver Serpent and Wanke are also defendants in a civil lawsuit brought by the Wiant family for the wrongful death of Collin. Lewis was named as a defendant in the suit, but was dismissed of all civil claims in August. 


Correction appended: A previous version of this article stated Wanke as the owner of the Silver Serpent, but he is just the general manager. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.

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