New criminal charges have been filed against Penn State fraternity members in relation to the hazing death of pledge Timothy Piazza. The FBI recovered surveillance footage, which Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller said was deleted by a fraternity member.
The DA’s office said the video was deleted after brothers were made aware that an investigation into Tim Piazza’s death was underway.
Parks Miller said Braxton Becker, the house manager of the fraternity, deleted the footage while local police were at the house to gather evidence. She said the recovered video shows Piazza was given 18 drinks in 82 minutes.
Twelve new defendants who were not charged previously are now facing charges including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. Five out of 14 defendants who have pending charges received additional charges. The DA said the charges are a direct result of the new evidence.
“We believe the behavior was reckless and that people could foresee serious injuries and death from the combination of this behavior,” Parks Miller said.
Jim Piazza, the father of the victim, said he applauds universities nationwide taking a tougher stance on hazing.
“Hazing needs to stop. There’s just no place for it,” Piazza said. In a statement, he told the defendants to "man up, and to be held accountable" for their actions.
In February 2017, Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza died suffering from a collapsed lung, a ruptured spleen and a fatal head injury after a night of hazing at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house.
During the preliminary hearing in August, State College Police Detective David Scicchitano said they suspected the security footage of the basement in Beta Theta Pi’s house was deleted on February 6, two days after Piazza’s death.
Centre County Judge Allen Sinclair dismissed all involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges for the 18 Beta Theta Pi members charged in the case in September. But the DA called that an “error of law.” A new judge will be appointed to hear the new charges.