The Hazing Death of Matt Carrington & a Murderer Turned Professor

Jan 15, 11:35 AM
Matt Carrington wasn’t your typical frat boy. He was reserved. He didn’t drink much. But when a friend asked him to rush the Chi Tau fraternity at Chico State University, Matt said sure. He couldn’t have guessed what he was in for. Over the course of what is commonly referred to as “hell week,” Matt endured relentless hazing. The hazing ramped up as the week progressed. On the final night of hazing, Matt died.

Then Brandi tells us about a brilliant, troubled young man named James Gordon Wolcott. James grew up in a small town in Texas. He excelled academically, but he struggled to fit in at home. His sister, Elizabeth had a Southern accent that grated on him. His father, a conservative professor at Southwestern University, disapproved of James’ more liberal politics. One day, in the summer of 1967, James had enough. He murdered his entire family.

And now for a note about our process. For each episode, Kristin reads a bunch of articles, then spits them back out in her very limited vocabulary. Brandi copies and pastes from the best sources on the web. And sometimes Wikipedia. (No shade, Wikipedia. We love you.) We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the real experts who covered these cases.

In this episode, Kristin pulled from:
“Matt’s Law” entry on wikipedia
“The Pledge” episode of The Shadows of Death
“New ‘Matt’s Law’ toughens penalties for college hazing,” by Matt Krupnick for Contra Costa Times
“Horrifying details in hazing death,” by Cecilia Vega for the San Francisco Chronicle
“7 face trial in hazing death,” Associated Press
“4 fraternity members plead guilty in student’s death,” Associated Press
“Student dies during fraternity hazing,” Santa Maria Times
“A fraternity hazing gone wrong,” by Elaine Korry for NPR
“Hazing death at Chico State” episode of Dateline

In this episode, Brandi pulled from:
“Innocence Lost” by Kim Janssen, Chicago Sun Times
“Esteemed Illinois professor revealed as teen killer who murdered his family — and served just six years after insanity bid” by Joe Kemp, New York Daily News
“The Family Annihilator Turned University Professor – James Gordon Wolcott” by Emily Thompson, Morbidology
“Boy who killed family turns up 46 years later as college professor” by Mike Robinson, NBC News