Penn State

Penn State Frat Hazing Death Trial Scheduled For February

Jul 19, 2018
The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house where Penn State student Timothy Piazza was fatally injured in Feb. 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — Members of a Penn State University fraternity charged in connection with the death of a pledge after a night of hazing and drinking are scheduled to go to trial early next year.

Centre County Judge Jonathan Grine set aside 20 days for the trial involving 21 members of the now-closed Beta Theta Pi fraternity, starting Feb. 6.

Defendants are accused of hazing, reckless endangerment and other offenses after the death last year of 19-year-old pledge Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey.

Danielle Dormer at the WPSU studios.
Min Xian / WPSU

This episode of Take Note is part of "State of Emergency: Searching for solutions to Pennsylvania’s opioids epidemic." State of Emergency is a combined effort of newsrooms across the state to draw attention to programs, therapies and strategies that are actually showing promise in the fight against this public health crisis.

Don Voigt is a retired a research associate for Penn State’s Ice and Climate Exploration group. During his career, he logged 18 seasons in Antarctica, seven in Greenland and two in Alaska. We’ll talk with him about his research with the Penn State Ice and Climate Exploration, his experiences at the ends of the earth, and his advice for aspiring scientists.  

Ryan Burke, one of the former fraternity members charged in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza, entered a guilty plea on Wednesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

One of the former fraternity members charged in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza formally entered a guilty plea on Wednesday. It’s the first guilty plea in the case.

Appearing in the Centre County courthouse for the first time in this case, Ryan Burke pleaded guilty to all nine charges against him.

The study showed a stark divide in employment recovery after the 2008 recession in different parts of the state.
"Pennsylvania Employment on the Move: 2001-17" study 

National unemployment levels are as low as they have been in years, but that rising tide isn’t necessarily lifting all boats. Penn State researchers say recent economic development in different parts of Pennsylvania varies dramatically.

"Eat First, Cry Later" author Mimi Brash Coppersmith.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

In State College in the late 1950s, she was a rarity: a progressive, a business owner, and a woman.

Mimi Barash Coppersmith celebrates her 85th birthday with a newly published memoir, "Eat First, Cry Later: The Life Lessons Of A First-Generation College Graduate, Penn State Alumna and a Female CEO." It recounts 48 life lessons drawn from an exceptional life brimming with triumphs and tragedies. She talked with Patty Satalia for WPSU's Take Note. 

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, we’ll hear a Bach viola da gamba sonata, played on viola and piano by two Penn State faculty members; “Capriccio Espangol” by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov played by the Penn State Philharmonic; and from Music at Penn’s Woods 2017, we’ll hear a ballet suite from “Mother Goose” by Maurice Ravel, and a violin duo with an amazing cover of the hit song, “Hotel California” by the Eagles!

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro had asked that involuntary manslaughter charges be reinstated against fraternity members in the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza.
Min Xian / WPSU

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — A judge has refused to reinstate involuntary manslaughter charges against five former Penn State fraternity members arrested in a pledge's hazing-related death last year.

Prosecutors sought to appeal a magistrate's decision to dismiss the most serious charges in the death of 19-year-old sophomore engineering student Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey. Piazza died of severe head and abdominal injuries after falling several times at the house the night of a bid acceptance ceremony and party.

Iraqi citizen Basim Razzo and Penn State professor Sam Richards.
Min Xian / WPSU

In a TED Talk at Penn State in 2010, sociology professor Sam Richards put forward a challenge of empathy. He showed the audience a picture of two captured Iraqi insurgents and asked them to put themselves in these men’s shoes – to think about their lives, their families and why they were fighting.

Not long after, on the other side of the world in Iraq, Basim Razzo saw that video and got in touch with Dr. Richards. Razzo has since been a frequent speaker at Richards’ classes – via Skype – and now Richards’ students have raised the money to bring Razzo to Penn State.   

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house where Penn State student Timothy Piazza was fatally injured in Feb. 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

A judge has dismissed the more severe charges against a second group of defendants in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza. With the ruling issued, a set of 25 former Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers will head to trial. 

Among this group of 12 defendants, five of the brothers, Joshua Kurczewski, Ryan Burke, Jonathan Kanzler, Bohan Song and Aiden O’Brien, were each charged with reckless endangerment, which is a second degree misdemeanor. 

A bicyclist rides past Pennsylvania State University's shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity house Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in State College, Pa.
Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

The three-day preliminary hearing for 12 defendants charged in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza completed on Friday. District judge Steve Lachman said he will announce on Monday whether the charges will go to trial.

These 12 defendants are the second group of former Beta Theta Pi brothers charged in the criminal investigation into the death of Piazza. 

State College police detective David Scicchitano left the courthouse in Bellefonte on Thursday.
Min Xian / WPSU

The preliminary hearing for 12 defendants charged in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza continued in the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte on Thursday. 

Prosecutors continued their effort in building the case against the former fraternity brothers, who face charges ranging from reckless endangerment to hazing and furnishing. The charges were filed based on security footage of the basement of the fraternity house. The FBI recovered it after it was allegedly deleted.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Zarallo spoke about the hazing case during a press conference in Harrisburg on Tuesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

Prosecutors from the office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General began on Wednesday to build the case against 12 defendants for charges in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza. A new judge is presiding over the preliminary hearing and will decide whether the defendants will go to trial for charges including reckless endangerment, hazing and furnishing. 

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro had asked that involuntary manslaughter charges be reinstated against fraternity members in the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza.
Min Xian / WPSU

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro spoke publicly for the first time on Tuesday about the prosecution of fraternity members in the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza. Shapiro detailed why, after completing an “independent and comprehensive” review, his office is fighting to reinstate involuntary manslaughter charges against five defendants and drop those charges against some others.

The Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
Min Xian / WPSU

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office is appealing the dismissal of some charges in the case of the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza.

The attorney general’s office is fighting to reinstate charges against eight defendants, including involuntary manslaughter charges faced by five former fraternity members.

President of the now-banned Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Brendan Young, and pledge master, Daniel Casey, are among those who had involuntary manslaughter charges cleared, but they both will go to trial on charges of conspiracy to commit hazing.

The Outing Club is one of three student-run clubs that have been disbanded by Penn State. The president of the club meets with the university Wednesday to negotiate.

Outing Club president Richard Waltz found the club his first year at Penn State. He says it was a pivotal moment for him.

“Freshman year that first trip to Shenandoah just absolutely changed the course of my college career,” Waltz said. “It was a defining moment for me.”

Penn State Students Help Refugees On Alternative Spring Break

Apr 2, 2018
Awaly Diallo, Paula Tabaschek and Shreya Sunder sort clothes at the Shop of Hope.
Lindsey Whissel Fenton / WPSU

Spring break conjures images of college kids partying in Cancun. But, for some students, this week off is spent doing community service.

Eleven Penn State students spent a week in Atlanta on a Penn State Alternative Break to work with refugees with the International Rescue Committee. Throughout the week, the students rotated through volunteer stations.

Duncan de la Feld, the volunteer coordinator at IRC’s Atlanta office, says the organization’s role in the refugee resettlement process takes over at airport baggage claim.

Timothy Piazza's parents as they entered the courthouse this morning in Bellefonte.
Min Xian / WPSU

A judge has dismissed all involuntary manslaughter charges against five defendants in the Penn State hazing case in relation to the death of pledge Timothy Piazza. This is the second time Judge Allen Sinclair has thrown out those charges. 

The judge also dismissed all the reckless endangerment charges that eight defendants faced. Those charges were refiled by former Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller last November, after Sinclair dismissed them last September. 

Jim and Evelyn Piazza left the courthouse with their lawyers on Tuesday, after hearing closing statements for the second preliminary hearing for the hazing case resulting in the death of their son, Tim Piazza.
Min Xian / WPSU

Prosecution and defense have made their closing statements for the second preliminary hearing of the Penn State hazing death case. The judge is expected to rule on the charges Wednesday.

After cross-examinations with State College Police Detective David Scicchitano, defense attorneys made their closing statements one by one. The common theme was that the prosecution has no new evidence compared to the first hearing last year.

Defense lawyers argued fraternity members each had minimal responsibility in giving Tim Piazza alcohol and recognizing his fatal injuries.

A bicyclist rides past Pennsylvania State University's shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity house Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in State College, Pa.
Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

Updated on March 27, 11:31 a.m.

 

The preliminary hearing for the Penn State hazing death case continued on Monday with new video evidence. The prosecution presented surveillance footage from the basement of the fraternity house recovered by the FBI.

 

Outside the courthouse, during a break from the proceedings on Friday, state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman released the details of the "Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law," joined by the Piazza family and Penn State president Eric Barron.
Min Xian / WPSU

Updated on March 23, 8:59 p.m.

The preliminary hearing for the Penn State hazing death case resumed on Friday in the Centre County courthouse.

Eleven former Beta Theta Pi members are facing charges in relation to the death of pledge Timothy Piazza in February 2017. Those charges range from involuntary manslaughter to hazing. All 11 defendants waived their right to be in court.

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house where Penn State student Timothy Piazza was fatally injured in Feb. 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office has dropped all assault charges and some involuntary manslaughter charges in the hazing case in relation to the death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Zarallo filed a notice in court Thursday, saying the prosecutors will drop all aggravated assault and simple assault charges, but will continue to press involuntary manslaughter charges against five defendants.

photo: Ted S. Warren for AP / Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania State University has announced it will start equipping on-campus officers with naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote.

Officers on its University Park Campus have been trained on how to administer the medication and how to recognize an overdose. The university says officers will start carrying the medication Friday.

Penn State police say they decided to join university paramedics in carrying the medication due to a higher demand in rural areas.

cyberscam keyboard
AP

Penn State is launching its first “self-phishing” campaign today as part of its cybersecurity efforts. University faculty and staff across the state should expect to get emails testing their ability to avoid being scammed.

Holly Swires, chief privacy officer at Penn State, said the university wants to educate faculty and staff about malicious cyber-tactics.

Past Daily Collegian newspapers hang along the walls of the Collegian office.
Taylor Mason-Little / WPSU

Starting in 2018, Penn State’s Daily Collegian student newspaper will print a hardcopy paper only twice a week.

The independent student-operated newspaper is shifting its focus away from print. By the spring, the newspaper will print on Mondays and Thursdays instead of every weekday.

Editor-in-chief Sam Ruland says the change isn’t just about finances. The Collegian is following the trend of many other college newspapers that are no longer printing daily since the majority of readership is online.

image: WPSU

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, hear the “Overture, Scherzo and Finale,” by Robert Schumann, from a Music at Penns Woods Concert;  the “Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano” by Bill Douglas from a 2015 Penn State Faculty Recital with Naomie Seidman, Tim Hurtz and Christohper Guzman; and the Penn State Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Michael Dolan in a 2017 performance of “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershiwn.

Beta Theta Pi fraternity building
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Penn State has announced disciplinary measures for 32 students in relation to the death of Beta Theta Pi pledge Timothy Piazza.

Nineteen of the students withdrew from the university before the disciplinary process finished, Penn State stated in a press release Tuesday. Their transcripts will be marked with a “conduct withdrawal” notation.

Seven students received disciplinary actions ranging from probation to expulsion.

Six students were not charged with violations.

Ex-Assistant Coach Ends Whistleblower Lawsuit Against PSU

Nov 7, 2017
Mike McQueary leaves the Centre County Courthouse Annex in Bellefonte, Pa., Monday, Oct. 17, 2016 surrounded by reporters.
Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — A former Penn State assistant football coach has ended his defamation and whistleblower lawsuit against the university.

Court records show Mike McQueary's attorney filed for the lawsuit to be discontinued and ended with prejudice Friday, meaning the lawsuit cannot be brought back to court.

McQueary filed his lawsuit against the university in 2012 after he lost his job following the firing of former head coach Joe Paterno.

He later testified during the child sex abuse case against the school's former defensive football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Prosecutors Refile Some Charges In Penn State Frat Death

Oct 27, 2017
Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller at podium next to a photo of Timothy Piazza and with his parents in person
Emily Reddy / WPSU

(Harrisburg) -- Prosecutors are reinstating some of the dismissed charges against members of a now-closed Penn State fraternity for actions related to the death of a pledge after a night of drinking and hazing.

The new charges were filed Friday, nearly two months after a judge threw out aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter counts against eight defendants. Those were the most serious charges brought in the case, and at least some are being refiled.

The next step in the legal process isn't immediately clear.

image: WPSU

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, hear Penn State Faculty pianist Jose Ramon Mendez play two of the Four Impromptus, D. 935: No. 2 in A-flat and No.3 in B-flat; The Penn State Philharmonic playing The Fountains of Rome by Ottorino Respighi, with guest conductor Theresa Cheung; and PSU faculty saxophonist David Stambler, with pianist Kathy Gattuso-Cinatl, in Moment Musicaux by contemporary American composer Mark Lanz Weiser.

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