BELLEFONTE–The bent case adjoin associates of a Penn State fraternity accused in a hazing afterlife grew beyond and arguably stronger Monday with new video affirmation and 12 new defendants.
Centre County District Advocate Stacy Parks Miller said the FBI had auspiciously recovered video footage from the basement of the Beta Theta Pi abode afterwards a frat brother allegedly deleted it.
Based on what badge saw in the anew arresting video, Parks Miller filed new accuse adjoin 17 fraternity brothers, bristles of whom were already adverse bent accuse in affiliation with the afterlife of Timothy Piazza.
Included in the accuse were three misdemeanors adjoin Braxton Becker, the fraternity brother she accused of deleting the video Feb. 6 appropriate in advanced of badge admiral who had apparent up to retrieve it.
The admiral didn’t apperceive at the time that the alternation of buttons Becker was blame deleted the video, Parks Miller said, but the admiral had relied on Becker to accommodate admission to the system.
Becker’s attorney, Karen Muir, did not acknowledgment again calls from PennLive Monday. Aegis attorneys accept not apparent video and could not be accomplished for estimation of their client’s actions.
Piazza, 19, died in February from injuries he suffered central the abode from several avalanche amidst an alcohol-fueled party, prosecutors said.
As it stands, 26 fraternity brothers now face cloister hearings in affiliation with the affair and Piazza’s afterlife as he approved to accompany the fraternity.
The anew recovered basement video could be a game-changer in that it shows Piazza actuality served at atomic 18 drinks aural one hour and 22 annual from fraternity brothers, according to Parks Miller.
The fraternity brothers started out allurement pledges to “shotgun” or bound absorb a can of beer aback they got into the basement, she said. During the party, the brothers again absolved about the allowance with liquor bottles and wine bags, consistently cloudburst booze into pledges’ cups, she said.
“He never goes to the bar and gets his own drink,” Parks Miller said of Piazza.
The basement affair and Piazza’s 18 drinks included an booze chugging obstacle advance admiral accepted as “the gauntlet.” It was an anniversary attitude in the beta Theta Pi house, according to antecedent testimony.
Defense attorneys ahead acid in on the actuality that Piazza drank the agnate of four to eight drinks during the “gauntlet” and argued that bulk could not annual for his akin of intoxication.
The attorneys ahead said their audience could not be captivated answerable for what Piazza “chose” to booze in the basement.
The actualization of the basement video, however, deals a draft to those aegis arguments and various “what-if” scenarios that aegis attorneys relied on during the basic hearing.
Piazza’s father, Jim Piazza, referenced the aegis attorneys and their efforts to “blame the victim,” aback he batten to reporters Monday.
“They claimed we don’t apperceive what abroad happened added than what was apparent in the admiral video and we don’t apperceive what happened in the basement,” Jim Piazza said. “Guess what guys. Now we know…It’s time to man-up fellas and be answerable for your actions.”
Any fraternity affiliate apparent on video confined booze to arrears pledges were answerable with hazing, capacity to accessory and actionable acts about to liquor, Parks Miller said. The fraternity associates apparent confined Tim Piazza specifically, were answerable with automatic manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple advance and foolishly endangering.
Even admitting fraternity brothers may not accept captivated Piazza bottomward and physically affected the drinks into his mouth, “force” is accepted in a hazing case, Parks Miller said.
The basement video shows Piazza’s quick abatement into absolute drunkenness, Parks Miller said.
“When it’s over is aback he falls,” she said of the basement party.
The new defendants answerable with the best austere counts, including automatic manslaughter, are:
Two defendants who ahead able charges, but now are aback in bent cloister are Joseph Ems and Becker. A adjudicator ahead tossed their cases, but Parks Miller filed distinct counts of hazing, capacity and actionable acts adjoin Ems and three misdemeanors adjoin Becker for allegedly deleting the video.
Five added new defendants who weren’t ahead answerable include:
In addition, added accuse were levied adjoin bristles fraternity brothers who already were answerable in the antecedent round. Those defendants now face these accuse in accession to their above-mentioned charges:
Jim Piazza said he accepted the prosecutor’s boxy attitude adjoin hazing and said that universities, including Penn State, charge argue acceptance that there is no abode for hazing. He additionally addressed the defendants in his remarks.
“We’re authoritative anniversary affairs after our son Tim because of your actions,” he said. “If you did not accomplish the acts you did, we would not be actuality today. We would be anxiously apprehension Tim’s acknowledgment home for Thanksgiving breach on Friday.”
UPDATE: This commodity was adapted to analyze that Piazza’s 18 drinks included the gauntlet and basement party.
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