Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro Takes Over Hazing Death Case After New DA's Recusal

Jan 9, 2018

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is taking over the prosecution of the Penn State hazing case after new Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna recused himself.

In a statement, spokesperson Joe Grace said, "The Office of Attorney General Shapiro reviewed the basis for the conflict and pursuant to the Commonwealth Attorneys Act has accepted the matter."

Cantorna, then district attorney-elect, announced in November that he would recuse himself from the Penn State hazing death case, citing conflicts of interest.

“Because I previously served as counsel to some of those involved in these cases, I sought the advice of the State Bar Ethics Committee about how to handle these matters going forward,” Cantorna said of his decision. “I have done that so these cases can move forward in an efficient, timely and above board manner.”

Earlier that month, the DA’s office said the FBI recovered deleted footage from the basement of the Beta Theta Pi house, where Timothy Piazza, a Penn State sophomore, died in February 2017 after a night of hazing and excessive drinking.

In light of those findings, former DA Stacy Parks Miller filed criminal charges, including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.

Centre County’s grand jury issued a scathing report in December, calling hazing at Penn State’s Greek community “rampant and pervasive.”

Grace said the AG's office will now conduct an independent review of the case.