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Judge dismisses involuntary manslaughter charges in Penn State frat hazing death

Judge dismisses involuntary manslaughter charges in Penn State frat hazing death”

After seven days of preliminary hearings, Judge Allen Sinclair dropped the most serious charges against the former Beta Theta Pi fraternity members connected to the death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza.

A prosecutor on Thursday urged a Pennsylvania judge to try 16 fraternity members in the alcohol-fueled hazing death of a 19-year-old aiming to join the club at Pennsylvania State University.

An involuntary manslaughter charge against the Alpha Upsilon chapter of Beta Theta Pi also was dismissed.

Tom Kline, the Piazza family attorney, told BuzzFeed News that "the headline here is that 14 of these 18 men are going to be held over for trial, of which 10 face hazing charges, seven face reckless endangerment, all of which carry potential jail time of years".

Prosecutors painted the fraternity brothers as pressuring their pledges to drink at risky levels, while defense attorneys said their various clients didn't know the full extent of what happened that night and Piazza wasn't forced to consume alcohol after the initial pledge ritual.

Two of the accused gave up their right to the preliminary hearing including Ed Gilmartin from Scranton.

Becker faced tampering with evidence charges.

"Obviously now the teeth have really been taken out of the commonwealth's case", said defense attorney Michael Engle, lawyer for Gary DiBileo, 21.

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Four of the brothers had all charges against them dismissed.

He says Young's entire exposure to Piazza's drinking lasted only 12 seconds. They said that the fraternity members were unaware of the potentially fatal risks of drinking alcohol and were also unlikely to understand the extent of Piazza's injuries through the night. "We have to go through this awful process again".

Defense attorneys said they would challenge any effort to restore the dismissed charges, and will work to whittle down what remains.

Afterwards, a wasted Piazza was left on a couch twitching and vomiting.

The decision followed a hard-fought, unusually long preliminary hearing in which the defendants and a platoon of defense attorneys wedged into the courtroom fought against allegations that a night of hazing and heavy drinking caused the death of Tim Piazza on February 4.

Parks Miller said a current Federal Bureau of Investigation attempt to recover suspected deleted footage from the Beta Theta Pi security system could produce new evidence, and may warrant additional charges. Doctors said he had consumed a toxic level of alcohol.

Defense attorneys argued that their clients' roles were minimal or their actions did not amount to criminal behavior.

Defense attorneys want to question Tim Bream about what he knew about events leading up to the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey. He later died at a hospital. He called the defendants' experience frightful and said they have been demonized.



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