District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller alerted media today that she’ll hold a press conference Monday in the annex of the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte to announce results of an investigation into the footage from the basement of Beta Theta Pi fraternity house that was deleted after Tim Piazza’s death.
“The video was deleted after brothers were made aware that an investigation into Tim Piazza’s death was underway and police planned to obtain the footage,” the media alert says. “The basement video captures the ongoing hazing that occurred on bid acceptance night and the continued repeated furnishing of alcohol by Beta brothers to Tim Piazza, as well as the other pledges, throughout the evening.”
The media alert does not make it clear whether the District Attorney’s office has been able to recover the deleted footage, but it’s hard to imagine Parks Miller would call a press conference to announce the investigation yielded no new information or findings.
Much of the what constitute the charges against former Beta Theta Pi fraternity members and the fraternity itself was gleaned from the original surveillance footage obtained by police, which showed the common areas of the fraternity house’s first floor. The footage was outlined in the grand jury presentment, which was released in May, and parts of the footage were shown during preliminary hearings for the case over the summer.
During these preliminary hearings, Detective David Scicchitano, the lead investigator in the case, testified about new evidence showing footage from the basement of the fraternity house was deleted. Police were previously told the surveillance cameras in the basement were not working during bid acceptance night.
Footage from the basement of the house presumably could show what happened during the fraternity’s social with Trilogy, which is widely believed to be the underground re-convention of Delta Delta Delta sorority. Cameras also likely would’ve seen Piazza’s falls down the basement steps and provided additional evidence of hazing and underage drinking.
Scicchitano said footage resumed a few days later on February 6, but everything before that was erased. He said during the preliminary hearings in August that police had a suspect who was among the 16 defendants in preliminary hearings, but no charges had been filed at that time, so Scicchitano did not name the suspect.
Tampering with evidence charges were already levied in the case after fraternity brothers’ efforts to delete GroupMe, Facebook, and text messages.