PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Beta Theta Pi, Eighteen Individuals Charged In Death Of Tim Piazza

Nineteen people (including one entity) were charged with a number of crimes relating to the death of student Tim Piazza in February from injuries he sustained when he fell down the steps at the fraternity house.

The fraternity itself will be charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, 50 counts of hazing, 48 counts of furnishing alcohol to minors, 48 counts of unlawful acts related to liquor (coming from fall 2016, spring 2016, and spring 2017 rush).

Members of the fraternity, including President Brendan Young and Pledge Master Daniel Casey, will be charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, tampering with evidence, hazing, furnishing alcohol to minors, unlawful acts relative to liquor, disorderly conduct, and consumption of alcohol by a minor.

Other members received lesser charges, including the chapter’s risk manager and social chairs — similar charges, but without involuntary manslaughter. Beta Theta Pi’s Vice President, House Manager, and a few others will only be charged with tampering with evidence.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller called a press conference on Friday, May 5 at 10 a.m. to announce these charges as a result of a grand jury investigation into what happened at the Beta Theta Pi house on the night Piazza fell. Piazza’s parents also attended the press conference, standing alongside Parks Miller as she announced the charges.

Piazza fell down the fraternity house steps at bid acceptance night on February 2, when he was slated pledge the fraternity. “He was warned ahead of time that there was going to be drinking,” Parks Miller said. The fraternity made the brothers run from station to station and drink enormous amounts of alcohol.

Piazza’s blood alcohol was nearly .40 — a fatal amount — according to the investigation. He also suffering a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen, and nonrecoverable brain injury following the fall. Security videos show Piazza fell multiple times throughout the night and eventually fell down the stairs again and laid at the bottom for “a number of hours.”

Beta Theta Pi brothers did not call paramedics until the next morning — nearly 12 hours after Piazza’s initial fall. He was transported to Mt. Nittany Medical Center and later flown to Hershey Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on February 4.

Parks Miller said brothers gathered around Piazza for nearly 40 minutes before calling paramedics in the morning, reportedly Googling things like “what to do with a head injury.” By the time Piazza arrived at the hospital, it was too late, Parks Miller said.

“This fraternity…had been doing these same pledging rituals for years,” Parks Miller said. “The grand jury discovered other hazing — paddling, eating all kinds of mushed food, all kinds of rituals that this fraternity engaged in over a number of years.”

She also said people had fallen during these hazing rituals before and brothers waited until morning to contact medical help.

About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a senior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.


More by Elissa

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Bringing Winter Tour To Bryce Jordan Center

The band is known for its elaborate concerts, which often include a string section, a light show, lasers, pyrotechnics, moving trusses, video screens, and effects synchronized to the music. Yes, really.

‘Daily Show’ Host Trevor Noah To Perform At BJC

Lisa Salters To Serve As 2018 Homecoming Grand Marshal


Penn State Hockey Releases 2018-19 Roster

Brett Murray is no longer on the team after an uneventful tenure in Happy Valley that saw him score just one goal in 33 games.

Penn State Women’s Soccer Sophomores Start Season Strong

Penn State Women’s Soccer Beats Duquesne 6-0

Shea Moyer Lifts Penn State Women’s Soccer Past West Virginia 1-0

Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Student Life

Your Fall 2018 Sylly Week Playlist

Whether this is your first semester or last, welcome to Sylly Week.

While You Were Gone…

Involvement Fair Returns To HUB Lawn Syllabus Week

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

While You Were Gone…

Here’s a roundup of what went on around Penn State during summer break.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

What Changed In State College While You Were Away

With another summer in the books, here are all the changes to State College that happened while you were gone.

Send this to a friend