Tim Piazza

Evelyn and Jim Piazza.
Min Xian / WPSU

Jim and Evelyn Piazza ignited a national conversation about the dangers of hazing on college campuses after the death of their son Timothy in 2017.

The 19-year-old died from injuries sustained during alcohol hazing at the Penn State chapter of Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

The couple has turned their tragedy into action, starting a foundation in their son’s honor, advocating for stricter legislation and penalties for hazing, and calling for increased oversight and rule enforcement for fraternities and sororities.  

The Piazzas at press conference
Min Xian / WPSU

Jim and Evelyn Piazza, the parents of Tim Piazza, gave an anti-hazing presentation to fraternity and sorority members at Penn State on Wednesday. They said their goal is to end the culture of hazing.

The Piazzas named their presentation, “Love, Mom & Dad.” They asked their audience in HUB Robeson Center's Freeman auditorium to imagine the painful loss of a child, as they recounted the details of how Tim was hazed and fatally injured in 2017.

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

Both sides gave closing statements on Wednesday in the fourth preliminary hearing of the Penn State hazing case. All seven defendants face charges that had been dismissed by two districts judges earlier this year.

The charges were refiled by the attorney general’s office. Prosecutors allege these former fraternity brothers conspired and committed hazing, resulting in the death of pledge Tim Piazza.

In their closing arguments, defense attorneys said their clients had limited interaction with Piazza and had no knowledge of his injuries on bid acceptance night.

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

Update: 5:20 p.m.

A fourth preliminary hearing is underway in the case of the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza. A Centre County district judge will hear the prosecution's case and decide whether to send seven defendants to trial with new charges including involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

Philip Masorti (second from right) spoke to reporters outside the courthouse after the sentencing of his client, Ryan Burke (right), on Tuesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

The first and, so far, only former Penn State fraternity member who pleaded guilty in the hazing death of Timothy Piazza was sentenced on Tuesday.

Ryan Burke, the “rush chair” who was in charge of recruitment for Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity, was sentenced to three months of house arrest, over two years of probation, 100 hours of community service and fines.

He pleaded guilty to nine counts of charges in hazing and alcohol violations, including giving vodka to 19-year-old Timothy Piazza, who died after a night of hazing in 2017.

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.

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.

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.

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.

As Penn State rolled out a series of measures last year to monitor and discipline Greek organizations, student leaders of the Greek community said they want to lead in reforms, but struggle with adjusting to new rules.
Min Xian / WPSU

As Penn State rolled out a series of measures last year to monitor and discipline Greek organizations, student leaders of the Greek community said they want to lead in reforms, but struggle with adjusting to new rules. 

John Lord, president of the Interfraternity Council, or IFC, at Penn State, said the council’s role is to govern and represent the 37 fraternity chapters. 

But, Lord said, when the university revokes recognition of a chapter, the IFC also loses grip on its oversight. 

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.