The family and defense attorney of Michael Bonatucci, one of the Beta Theta Pi brothers charged with aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter, have spoken out about the charges against the 19-year-old freshman.
In a statement, the charges were described as “inappropriate” as they believe Bonatucci was not involved in any of the events that happened bid acceptance night as described in the grand jury presentment.
“There is no indication in that very detailed presentment that Michael personally provided any alcohol to Mr. Piazza; that Michael saw or was aware that Mr. Piazza fell; that Michael saw any bruising or injury to Mr. Piazza; that Michael engaged in the alleged ‘backpacking’ as to Mr. Piazza; that Michael had any physical contact with Timothy Piazza before, during, or after he fell; or that Michael participated in any alleged debate about Timothy Piazza’s condition or what to do about it,” Bonatucci’s lawyer Rocco Cipparone Jr. said in the statement.
Bonatucci appears in the grand jury presentment only a handful of times, with his main involvement on bid acceptance night carrying a case of Natty Light into the house and later handing four pledges, none of who were Timothy Piazza, beers to shotgun.
“Michael is a wonderful son and human being and we trust that in the judicial process, airing of the true facts will demonstrate he should never have been charged,” Bonatucci’s family said in the statement.
The Beta Theta Pi brothers charged have kept a low profile since the results of the investigation were released. Piazza’s family, Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller, and others close to the case have insisted on holding all individuals involved accountable to the greatest extent of the law.
“Having read the grand jury report, we are confident that the district attorney has a basis to file charges against all of those who were involved that night,” Piazza’s parents’ lawyer Tom Kline told Philly.com.
The full list of charges against Bonatucci include one count of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, and consumption of alcohol by a minor, as well as 14 counts of hazing and recklessly endangering another person, and 12 counts of furnishing alcohol to minors and unlawful acts relative to liquor.