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Timothy Piazza Hazing Death
14 November 2017, 12:51 | Darnell Patrick
Prosecutors on Monday filed fresh manslaughter charges against five members of a Penn State fraternity based on video evidence recovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that shows they fed a pledge 18 boozy drinks in under an hour and a half to an underage pledge before he fell to his death down a flight of stairs.
Footage that shows what exactly happened in the basement of Beta Theta Pi on the night of Tim Piazza's death has finally been uncovered. Members of the fraternity carried Piazza up the steps and put him on the couch.
The new defendants face charges that include involuntary manslaughter, assault, hazing and furnishing alcohol to minors, all related to additional alcohol hazing prosecutors said was caught on cameras in the basement of the fraternity house in the Pennsylvania town of State College.
In light of these findings, she has charged 12 members of the fraternity and added additional charges to 5 members previously facing charges. 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.
The lead detective had said the cameras in the basement did not record the night of February 2-3, according to a grand jury, but Miller said the detective pursued the question further and got help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to restore the missing footage.
Becker is charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing justice and hindering apprehension.
"When law enforcement initially evaluated the video footage, fraternity brothers led police to believe that the basement cameras had been inoperable on Bid Acceptance Night", Parks Miller's office said in a statement. In fact, authorities say, every drink consumed was provided to him by a fraternity brother.
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"We have spent the last eight months wondering how this could happen", he said.
"The visions of him lying in a hospital bed battered and bruised and on life support. make no sense".
Even though fraternity brothers may not have held Piazza down and physically forced the drinks into his mouth, "force" is presumed in a hazing case, Parks Miller said. "We know exactly the time it was deleted and the police were indeed in the house".
Jim said his son should have been returning home for Thanksgiving break this Friday, making this time especially painful for the family.
Five of the new defendants are charged with involuntary manslaughter. "As a lawyer, I don't see a crime here", attorney Bill Brennan said.
"As a human, I have tremendous empathy for the tragedy of the situation". "Sometimes, tragedies just occur, and they're not crimes".
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