Judge dismisses most serious charges in death of PSU pledge

Judge dismisses most serious charges in death of PSU pledge

March 28 (UPI) — A district judge in Pennsylvania again dismissed involuntary manslaughter charges Wednesday against a group of former Penn State fraternity brothers in the death of a pledge.

Judge Allen Sinclair also dismissed refiled charges of recklessly endangering another person and dozens of other charges against members of the fraternity accused in the February 2017 hazing death of sophomore pledge Timothy Piazza.

“I am disappointed by the decision of the magisterial district judge and we are assessing our legal options,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “My office is committed to seeking justice for Timothy Piazza and his family and holding responsible individuals accountable for their actions, consistent with the law and the evidence in this case.”

Sinclair allowed 30 of the refiled charges to stand, including a conspiracy to commit hazing charge for fraternity President Brendan Young and another member as well as multiple charges of furnishing alcohol to minors for other members of the fraternity.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Zarallo played newly recovered basement video from inside the Beta Theta Pi house showing fraternity brothers feeding alcohol to pledges the night Piazza sustained the fatal injuries.

Prosecutors also provided new video of the party from upstairs as well as text messages from the defendants and a voicemail Piazza sent to his girlfriend, which is believed to be his last known communication.

Sinclair tossed out the manslaughter and aggravated assault charges against eight of the 14 fraternity members in September of last year.

Then-Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller argued members of the fraternity supplied liquor to Piazza, who at one point fell down a flight of stairs and sustained head and internal injuries.

Parks Miller also said the members ignored signals that he needed medical attention for more than 12 hours before they called 911. Piazza died in a hospital the next day.

In the new case prosecutors argued the fraternity brothers had a legal duty to call for medical help for Piazza after he was knocked unconscious due to their prior actions supplying him with alcohol.

Defendants countered the fraternity members were unaware Piazza’s life and health were in danger and simply thought he was drunk.