New charges filed in Penn State frat death after deleted video is recovered

Image: Timothy Piazza, Evelyn Piazza, James Piazza

Timothy Piazza, center, with his parents Evelyn Piazza, left, and James Piazza, right, during Hunterdon Central Regional High School football’s “Senior Night” at the high school’s stadium in Flemington, N.J. Patrick Carns / AP file


judge in September threw out the most serious charges, including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, against eight of the former Beta members. In total, 14 brothers who belonged to the now-disbanded fraternity were ordered to stand trial in the hazing death, but for lesser charges.

Those charged in the past have denied all charges. The new defendants did not immediately respond to the charges announced on Monday.

Miller previously said that she planned to refile charges and denied there was prosecutorial overreach because the more serious ones had been dropped.

She said Monday that fraternity member and house manager Braxton Becker had manually deleted the video footage while police were at the house trying to obtain it. Becker was charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing administration of law and hindering apprehension.

During earlier preliminary hearings, State College police Det. David Scicchitano

testified that all of the footage prior to Feb. 6, two days after Piazza succumbed to his injuries, was gone.


Why Did No One Call 911 After Pledge Timothy Piazza Got Hurt?

But Miller said the entire video system was sent to the FBI for further analysis. Eventually, that missing footage was retrieved from a deleted hard drive.

She declined Monday to detail if the deleted video shows Piazza, an engineering student from Lebanon, New Jersey, falling, but said he does appear inebriated in it.

The video was a continuation of an earlier drinking event called The Gauntlet, in which fraternity brothers forced pledges to drink excessively from station to station, prosecutors said.

Piazza fell down basement steps that night, police said. First responders were not called until almost 12 hours later — after various brothers failed to give him meaningful assistance, prosecutors alleged.

Penn State shut down the Beta chapter permanently after an investigation into Piazza’s death and the Beta Theta Pi International Fraternity suspended the group. The international’s leaders said they have “clearly and consistently expressed its position that it does not tolerate hazing or alcohol abuse.”

Penn State also seized disciplinary control over all Greek fraternities and sororities on campus, including instituting a zero tolerance for hazing.

Powered by WPeMatico