Charges Against Frat, 18 Members in Penn State Student's Death


His death was initially ruled an accident.

The 19-year-old sophomore student passed away in February after falling almost five metres down a flight of stairs, with his would-be fraternity brothers waiting more than 12 hours to alert the authorities. The others face charges ranging from furnishing alcohol to minors to evidence tampering.

He had severe head trauma and a shattered spleen and later died of traumatic brain injury. At 10:48 a.m., a fraternity member called 911.

The circumstances around the final hours of Piazza's life are detailed in a grand jury document that was released Friday.

Piazza died after taking part in a hazing ritual for the Alpha Upsilon chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity's bid acceptance night on February 2, authorities allege.

Old Main on the Penn State main campus in State College, Pa., Oct. 28, 2015.

"This was a preventable tragedy", Davis said.

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Piazza thanked the district attorney "for swiftly moving to bring those who caused Tim's death to justice".

But Tim Piazza had fallen down a flight of stairs on that morning in February and was on a couch in the frat house, unresponsive. After 3 a.m., Piazza tried to stand but fell, hitting his head on the floor. Doctors estimated that Piazza had a blood-alcohol level of nearly.40 percent when he fell.

The criminal charges were announced Friday, just before the university held spring graduation ceremonies.

Kubera: Aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter, simple assault, reckless endangerment, hazing, alcohol-related charges.

The Feb. 4 death of Piazza resulted in calls for a serious crackdown of the university's fraternity and sorority polices. "The actions included a ban on hard liquor at all fraternities".

The manual also prohibits hazing, stating, "Permission or approval by a person being hazed is not a defense".

Piazza regains consciousness and is seen grabbing his abdomen, staggering and falling, prosecutors say surveillance video shows.

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He told the grand jury that he insisted that Piazza needed immediate medical attention.

According to the grand jury report, in a deleted text that was recovered, one man wrote, "If need be, just tell them what I told you guys, found him behind [a bar] the next morning at around 10 a.m., and he was freezing-cold, but we chose to call 911 instantly, because the kid's health was paramount". "We need to call 911". After he was clearly suffering, Davis urged an emergency call but was overruled by his fellow members.

After the fall, fraternity members carried Piazza up the stairs and placed him on a couch. Pledges are led to basement and directed to drink from a vodka bottle. It found that a text message recovered by police urged pledges to get rid of evidence of alcohol and that conversations discussing deleting conversations from a messaging app were discovered.

On Friday, fraternity members Brendan Young, Daniel Casey, Jonah Neuman, Nick Kubera, Michael Bonatucci, Gary Dibileo, Luke Visser and Joe Sala were charged and were arraigned.

"I'm burnt out from hazing", Young said in the message thread. "If anything goes wrong with the pledges this semester then both of us are f*****".

"We're devastated by the loss of our son...", Piazza's father, Jim, said at a press conference last week where authorities announced the charges.

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