Judge to soon rule in Penn State frat death case

Saul Bowman
September 2, 2017

The 16 former Beta Theta Pi brothers are accused in the death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza.

"What we have is evidence from this record that this tragic death was simply not foreseeable here", said Engle, who represents defendant Gary DiBileo.

A judge has thrown out charges of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault against former members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity who had been indicted by a grand jury over the death of pledge Timothy Piazza at Penn State.

Judge Allen Sinclair's decision marked the end of a tense and volatile preliminary hearing that was spread over seven days in the span of three months, owing to the large number of defendants and the volume of charges in the case.

Attorneys for five members of now-closed Beta Theta Pi focused on what occurred during and after a drinking station gauntlet the night in February that 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey, drank a unsafe amount of alcohol and was injured in a series of falls.

Also, each defense attorney argued that their client had no direct link to Piazzas fatal fall.

After the judge's ruling, District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announced that she plans to refile charges and denied there was prosecutorial overreach because the more serious charges were dropped.

Eight members, including fraternity president Brandon Young, face felony charges that could result in many years in prison.

Kubera had been charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and other crimes in connection with the death of Tim Piazza.

His decision follows a hard-fought, seven-day preliminary hearing on allegations a night of hazing and heavy drinking caused the February 4 death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey. Two of the brothers waived the hearing, meaning only 16 brothers and the fraternity were involved in it.

The sixth day of a preliminary hearing for former members of a Penn State fraternity charged after the death of a pledge is underway with arguments over whether an adviser who lived in the chapter house should be called to the stand.

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.

Parks Miller said the event was not voluntary as the pledges were instructed what to wear, when to arrive, and were supplied alcohol by the fraternity brothers.

Parks Miller told reporters on Friday that she meant to refile the charges, including those for involuntary manslaughter.

Eighteen fraternity members and the fraternity itself face a range of charges.

Piazza was unconscious by the time he was discovered in the basement the next morning, and he was found to have suffered severe head and abdominal injuries.

Security camera footage from the since-closed Beta Theta Pi fraternity captured 19-year-old Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey, falling several times in the hours after he and other pledges were run through a drinking gauntlet. Help wasn't summoned until the next morning, and he later died at a hospital.

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