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article image18 Penn State students face hundreds of charges in hazing death

By Arthur Weinreb     May 6, 2017 in Crime
Bellefonte - Eight of the 18 students charged face a count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 19-year-old fraternity pledge in February. A grand jury determined the death of Timothy Piazza was not simply an accident but involved reckless criminal conduct.
Over 1,000 charges were laid against the students and the fraternity itself, Beta Theta Pi, faces one count of involuntary manslaughter. As well as involuntary manslaughter and reckless criminal conduct, the charges include aggravated assault, simple assault, hazing, tampering with evidence and a variety of alcohol-related infractions.
The announcement of the charges were made at a press conference yesterday held by Stacy Parks Miller, the District Attorney for Centre County, Pennsylvania. The charges were laid after recommendations were made by a grand jury.
Parks Miller said Piazza was a pledge of the fraternity and attended a party at the frat house on Feb. 2. He was warned there would be a lot of drinking. A game played at the party was “run the gauntlet” wherein pledges would have to run from station to station. At each stop, they were required to drink an enormous amount of alcohol. Some of the pledges required to consume vast amounts of alcohol were underage.
According to police, the intoxicated Piazza fell head first down 15 stairs around 11 p.m. He was carried upstairs and placed on a couch. A few times he got up and fell again. It was only about 12 hours later when he appeared to be dead did someone call 911. The frat brothers were content to just watch him and some googled what to do for a head injury.
Piazza passed away two days later at the Hershey Medical Center. Doctors say his blood alcohol level when he entered hospital was .40, five times the legal limit for driving in most states.
The fraternity house had surveillance cameras and footage of that night was available to the grand jury. They jurors saw students trying to get Piazza to wake up by slapping him and also saw them running around trying to get rid of evidence of what happened. They also saw a frat brother pushed up against a wall when he suggested getting help right after Piazza fell.
The grand jury concluded, given the amount of excessive alcohol consumption, Piazza’s death did not result from an unfortunate accident. Rather, he died as a result of reckless conduct and a complete disregard for human life.
Piazza’s father, Jim, attended yesterday's press conference. He said, “Sadly, we will never see his smile again except in pictures.” The senior Piazza added his son’s death did not have to happen. It was a “result of a feeling of entitlement, flagrant disregard for the law.”
This was not the first time Beta Theta Pi has been accused of engaging in excessive drinking, drug use and hazing. On Mar. 30, Penn State permanently shut down the fraternity because of the consistent pattern of this conduct.
More about Penn state, Hazing, Fraternity, Involuntary manslaughter, beta theta pi
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