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A Judge Has Dismissed Most Charges In Fraternity Hazing Death

A judge has dropped all involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges for the 18 Penn State fraternity members charged in the death of pledge Timothy Piazza. Some defendants are going to trial for lesser charges. 

The most serious charges of the case have been dismissed by Judge Allen Sinclair, but 14 defendants are still going to trial for hazing and furnishing. Seven also face reckless endangerment charges. 

Defense attorney Michael Engle says his client, Gary DiBileo, knows there’s no winner in the case.

“Gary’s never lost sight of the fact that a young man died here,” Engle said. “That’s something, as I’ve said before, he carries with him. That’s never gonna go away.”

The attorney for the Piazza family, Thomas Kline, said the process has been extraordinarily difficult for them, and they will continue to support the prosecution. 

“What does give them satisfaction is knowing their son’s death can be meaningful,” Kline said, “and the meaning can come from seeing justice because justice will mean more than punishment, it would mean deterrence as well.”

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller called the judge's decision an "error of law" and said she'll refile some charges, including involuntary manslaughter. Miller says the FBI is still looking into the alleged deletion of surveillance video in the fraternity house, and new evidence could become available. 

Min Xian reported at WPSU from 2016-2022.
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