Recovered Surveillance Video Advances Penn State Hazing Case Hearing

Mar 26, 2018

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.


The prosecution played a two-hour compilation of new and old video footage. The new footage showed the beginning of the drinking on bid acceptance night, where a line of 14 pledges passed a handle of vodka up and down three times, drinking until it was empty.


The prosecutor also compiled clips of individual members giving alcohol to minors. Timothy Piazza was found to be given 18 drinks in 82 minutes, causing his blood alcohol concentration to rise to a dangerous level between 0.28 and 0.36 percent, according to Centre County Forensic Pathologist Dr. Kamerow.


The videos showed Tim Piazza staggering behind a bar in the basement the next morning, before he was found and later sent to a hospital.


Previously, security video from the first floor of the house captured how the fraternity members reacted to Piazza’s alleged fall down the basement steps. Brothers were seen touching Piazza, pouring liquid on him and putting weight on him. The video shows them waiting for 12 hours to call 911.


Piazza died of traumatic head injuries and a ruptured spleen a day later on Feb. 4th. Kamerow testified on Friday that Piazza would have had a high probability of surviving if he was sent to a hospital sooner.


The footage recovered by the FBI was allegedly deleted by house manager Braxton Becker. Becker is charged with tampering with evidence but those charges are not included in this hearing. Former Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller refiled charges against Becker and others last November after Judge Allen Sinclair threw out the most serious charges.


Tom Kline, lawyer for the Piazza family, said the new video evidence advances the case significantly.   


“We also saw for the first time, a clear picture of how individual members knew that Tim Piazza was seriously in extremis,” Kline said.


Cross-examinations of State College Police Detective David Scicchitano will continue on Tuesday.