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Grand jury indicts former UK fraternity member charged in prank

Sean Patrick Dunn, a former University of Kentucky fraternity member accused in March of setting a fraternity brother afire in an apparent prank that went wrong, was indicted Tuesday by a Fayette County grand jury on misdemeanor charges.

Dunn, 20, from Hebron, was indicted on a second-degree wanton endangerment charge for allegedly engaging in conduct that created a substantial danger of physical injury to John Pelosi, according to the indictment. Dunn also was indicted on a third-degree criminal mischief charge for allegedly defacing or damaging property at 410 Rose Lane, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house. Both charges are misdemeanors.

The grand jury considered a felony charge of tampering with physical evidence against Dunn but dismissed it.

Dunn's case will go back to Fayette District Court, which handles most misdemeanors.

The counts in the indictment are less serious than some of Dunn's original charges — first-degree arson, first-degree wanton endangerment and tampering with physical evidence.

David Franklin, Dunn's attorney, said the original charges had been overblown and were "ridiculous."

"It was never arson — not in a million years," Franklin said.

According to police, Dunn struck a match, setting ablaze a toilet paper-wrapped Pelosi. Flames engulfed Pelosi up to his shoulders, and he fell to the floor and began rolling. The floor caught fire, and Dunn tried to stomp out the blaze, according to court records. The SAE house is currently closed under recommendation of the UK Fire Marshal.

Franklin said there was no burn damage caused to the carpet or the walls in the SAE house. "There was no damage, no burn spots. The criminal mischief they are charging him with cost $22 to clean a carpet which needed cleaning anyway," he said.

Dunn will appear for pretrial hearings in a few weeks. Franklin said he had not spoken with the county attorney but does not believe Dunn will receive the maximum sentence for this case.

Another former SAE member and the former president of the UK chapter, Joseph Henry McKinley III, was charged with third-degree assault for allegedly hitting a UK police officer and resisting arrest during the evacuation of the SAE house after the fire started.

According to Fayette District Court records, UK police found McKinley, who is from Owensboro, lying on a couch and pretending to be asleep in the fraternity house as they made room checks because of the fire.

McKinley, according to court records, ignored the officers' request to go to the fraternity house lobby, cursed at them and began swinging his fist at them. McKinley struck one officer in the face as the officer tried to apprehend him, according to court records.

The case of McKinley, the son of U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr., has been held over to the grand jury, according to the district court clerk's office.

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