May 7 (UPI) — A Pennsylvania judge Monday said 11 more members of a Penn State University fraternity will face trial for the hazing death of a sophomore pledge.
Judge Steven Lachman ruled the state attorney general’s office provided sufficient evidence to charge the new defendants with 35 counts of hazing and more than 30 alcohol-related counts, bringing the total number of defendants to 25.
“We are in the process of reviewing the judge’s decision to determine next steps, and are pleased that 11 more defendants we charged will be headed to trial,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.
Lachman also dismissed all five counts of reckless endangerment, a second-degree misdemeanor, against five of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity members in the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza in February 2017.
The group of 11 fraternity members were charged in the case after the FBI managed to recover incriminating video images that depicted alcohol-fueled activities in the basement of the building where their bid acceptance night took place.
Lachman dropped all three charges against fraternity brother Braxton Becker, who was accused of purposely deleting the video images.
Lachman ruled prosecutors failed to provide enough evidence to bring the criminal charges against Becker to trial.
Piazza consumed 18 drinks within 82 minutes as fraternity brothers required he and 13 other pledges to run a gantlet and chug vodka, beer and wine at different locations.
He later fell down a set of basement stairs and sustained catastrophic injuries to his brain and spleen. No one in the house called for help for nearly 12 hours after the fall and Piazza died in a hospital the next day.
In March, Judge Allen Sinclair dismissed refiled charges of recklessly endangering another person and dozens of other charges against a separate group of fraternity members.