losangelesnewstoday.com
losangelesnewstoday.com September 21, 2017


Judge Tosses Most-Serious Charges in Penn State Fraternity Death

02 September 2017, 12:59 | Katrina Lee

The Latest: Judge to soon rule in Penn State frat death case

Judge nearing decision on trial over Penn State frat death

"The Gauntlet", as it's called in the BTP fraternity house, is a an alcoholic marathon where members drink an excessive amount of vodka, beer and wine.

Four people who faced single counts of tampering with evidence were dropped from the case altogether as a result of Friday's ruling.

Defense attorney Michael Engle argued that "the voluntariness of the drinking" is an important factor when considering Piazza's fate.

"She can refile, but obviously we're going to contest any refiling", he said.

Citing the grand jury's finding of probable cause, the prosecutor added that her office will "carefully consider" whether to seek the manslaughter charge again. The other defendants are charged with misdemeanors.

Closing arguments are underway on the sixth day of a hearing for 16 Penn State fraternity brothers charged in a pledge's death.

A total of 18 Beta Theta Pi members were named in the grand jury's indictment released in May. Two defendants had waived the preliminary hearing.

Afterwards, a wasted Piazza was left on a couch twitching and vomiting. Bream is also the football team's head athletic trainer. Piazza suffered fatal injuries after drunkenly falling several times, including twice down a flight of stairs.

The preliminary hearing took seven days over the span of three months.

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On Wednesday, Tim Bream, the fraternity's live-in adviser and a Penn State Athletics employee, testified that although he lived in the house, he went to bed before any of the activities leading to Piazza's death occurred and he was more of a "guidance counselor" than an "overlord". Doctors said he had consumed a toxic level of alcohol.

Parks Miller argued that the former fraternity members had been through the hazing themselves and therefore knew of the possible outcome from consuming such large amounts alcohol.

The fraternity has been shut down by the university.

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.

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.

Lawyers for five of the eight fraternity brothers who face the most serious offenses attacked the prosecution's case.

Piazza, a 19-year-old engineering student from Lebanon, N.J., was fatally injured in a series of falls that he sustained after becoming drunk during a February 2 bid acceptance party at the fraternity.

Magisterial District Judge Allen Sinclair ruled that the former fraternity members should face charges that include hazing, reckless endangerment and furnishing alcohol - all misdemeanor crimes. He later died at a hospital.



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