Recovered deleted video leads to new charges

Tim Piazza death investigation: Prosecutor announces new charges

Another dozen Penn State fraternity brothers charged in Tim Piazza hazing death

Seventeen former Beta Theta Pi members are facing charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, hazing, furnishing alcohol and unlawful acts relative to liquor, Parks Miller announced Monday afternoon.

In late October, Parks Miller refiled the dismissed felony charges against Brendan Young, Luke Visser, Gary DiBileo and Michael Bonatucci. Before the fall, Piazza had been forced to consume at least 18 drinks in less than an hour and a half, according to prosecutors.

Timothy Piazza, 19, of Lebanon, NJ, fell down a set of stairs and suffered fatal injuries in February after prosecutors said pledges were forced to down a unsafe amount of alcohol and were then made to run a "gauntlet" of booze-drinking stations.

In a news conference Monday, Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller outlined the additional charges brought against a dozen additional Beta Theta Pi brothers in connection with the death of Beta pledge Timothy Piazza.

Also as a result of the video, five fraternity members already charged in the case face additional charges, said Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller on Monday.

The basement video captured the ongoing hazing that occurred on bid acceptance night, and the continued repeated furnishing of alcohol by Beta brothers to Piazza, as well as the other pledges, throughout the evening.

One former frat brother, who was accused of deleting the video, was charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing administration of law and hindering apprehension.

Piazza's father, Jim Piazza, told ABC News today there is "no question" the basement surveillance video was intentionally deleted.


At a lengthy preliminary hearing over the initial charges in the case last summer, defense attorneys argued that Piazza's death was a tragic accident.

He referenced statements by the defendants, who said they did not know everything that had happened that night. That night, after taking part in an alcohol-fueled hazing ritual known as the "Gauntlet", a heavily intoxicated Piazza was heard falling down the stairs.

Piazza ultimately fell down a set of stairs and was found lying face down at the bottom.

What happened next is described in horrific detail in a grand jury report citing evidence including surveillance video, witness testimony and phone records. Members of the fraternity carried Piazza up the steps and put him on the couch.

One pledge tried to intervene, but he was shoved into a wall and told it was already under control, the report said. The investigation into the marijuana sales began in November, almost three months before Piazza's death, the Centre Daily Times of State College reported. By the time a brother called 911 on February 3, his skin was gray, the report said.

It would be almost another six hours before an ambulance was called for Piazza, who ultimately died with traumatic brain injuries and a ruptured spleen.

Detectives also found a text from Becker the day after the party, saying Piazza "was technically hazed into drinking that much".

Jim Piazza's message for college students is, "If you are potentially one of the people that are about to get hazed, just walk away".

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