First Day Of Beta Theta Pi Hearings Rehashes Grand Jury Presentment, Shows Surveillance Footage
Preliminary hearings for former members of Beta Theta Pi charged in the death of fraternity member Timothy Piazza were held today at the Centre County courthouse.
In total, 16 fraternity members — Braxton Becker, Michael Bonatucci, Daniel Casey, Gary Dibileo, Joseph Ems Jr., Craig Heimer, Lars Kenyon, Nicholas Kubera, Ryan McCann, Jonah Neuman, Lucas Rockwell, Joseph Sala, Michael Schiavone, Luke Visser, Parker Yochim, and Brendan Young — appeared at the courthouse for the day’s proceedings. Most of the information presented at the courthouse was rehashed from the grand jury presentment that detailed the night of Piazza’s death during the fraternity’s bid acceptance night.
Former members Edward Gilmartin III and Ryan Foster were granted early waivers, per court documents, and did not appear at the hearings.
State College police detective David Scicchitano’s testimony — which preceded roughly three hours of footage from bid night caught by Beta Theta Pi security cameras shown to the courtroom — revolved around Piazza’s physical state upon EMT arrival at the house.
“He looked like a corpse,” Scicchitano said.
The surveillance video — which had been edited to approximately three hours for the preliminary hearing — showed events that took place during the “gauntlet” along with fraternity brothers attempting to tend to Piazza by placing him on a nearby couch. Piazza could be seen trying to leave the room in parts of the video, but was rendered unable due to his deteriorating physical state.
District attorney Stacy Parks Miller stated that the full, unabridged video from the night of Piazza’s death would be available during the pre-trial discovery period.
The court took a break around 1:30 p.m. for lunch, and took another 10 minute break at approximately 5 p.m. Proceedings are still underway at the courthouse, and are scheduled to finish later this evening.