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Beta Theta Pi Preliminary Hearings Continue More Questioning Of Detective David Scicchitano

Preliminary hearings to determine if former Beta Theta Pi members should go to trial for Tim Piazza’s death continued today at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte as attorneys spent most of the day questioning and cross-examining Detective┬áDavid Scicchitano, who investigated the case.

Centre County District Attorney reportedly “clashed repeatedly” with defense attorneys, as reported by NBC News Correspondent Gabe Gutierrez.

What you should know about new developments:

Scicchitano confirmed Penn State athletic trainer Tim Bream was at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house for bid acceptance night, according The Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Erin McCarthy.

Bream was a live-in advisor at the fraternity house, but this was not a part of his official duty in his capacity as a Penn State employee, university officials say. Nonetheless, speculators were shocked when Bream was not even mentioned in the grand jury presentment released in May.

Scicchitano also said the Interfraternity Council’s hired security guards had checked in on the Beta Theta Pi fraternity social that night, within 10 minutes of Piazza’s first fall down the basement steps, according to McCarthy.

For those not familiar with IFC systems, the organization contracted these security personnel to keep fraternity events under control. However, any student who has ever attended a fraternity party will tell you they generally take this job lightly. Students at most fraternity socials — including Beta Theta Pi’s bid acceptance — would not be “carded” or in any other way reprimanded for underage drinking.

McCarthy noted Scicchitano said he had not interviewed the two “social checkers” and had not accessed a copy of a form they supposedly filled out after quickly surveying the social. The portion of surveillance video when they arrived was not shown in court.

Rehashing from the grand jury presentment:

The remainder of the day was spent reviewing text messages exchanged before, during, and after bid acceptance proceedings between members of the fraternity and a few outsiders. Leaders notably tried to cover up what had happened by deleting GroupMe messages and Facebook groups.

Scicchitano outlined the text messages he recovered from fraternity members, which were all included in the grand jury presentment released at the end of the spring semester. He also identified receipts for purchasing the alcohol for the bid acceptance night and prior pledging events.

The hearing will continue tomorrow morning at 8:30, again at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte. You can catch up on the first day of preliminary hearings, which featured a screening of surveillance footage from inside the fraternity house, here.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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