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Judge Denies Appeal Of Beta Theta Pi Dismissed Involuntary Manslaughter Charges

Judge Pamela Ruest granted a motion to not reinstate charges, which includes all involuntary manslaughter charges remaining in the case, from the second preliminary hearing in the Beta Theta Pi case involving the death of Tim Piazza at the on-campus fraternity’s house.

After involuntary manslaughter charges were dismissed for the second time during a hearing in March, the Office of the Attorney General filed an appeal in late April.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro gave an update on the case in early May that his office would continue to pursue involuntary manslaughter charges against five defendants, stating “local district magistrate should not have the final say.”

“We firmly believe that justice for Tim Piazza demands that a jury hear this evidence and decide whether or not these individuals should be held accountable,” Shapiro said at the press conference.

The defense filed the motion to dismiss the appeal on the grounds that the charges could be refiled, but “a magistrate’s decision to dismiss criminal charges after a preliminary hearing is unappealable.”

The Office of the Attorney General said it will continue to push for this case to be heard by a higher court, but did not specify what its next move would be.

“[Wednesday’s] ruling is just another step in this circular and protracted legal process,” said Joe Grace, spokesman for the Office of Attorney General. 

“Our office remains committed to seeking justice for Timothy Piazza and his family and holding responsible individuals accountable for their actions, consistent with the law and the evidence.”

Shapiro stated during the update in May that his office would consider other options like appealing to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania if the appeal was not accepted.

Following two preliminary hearings against the brothers originally charged in May of 2017 and a preliminary hearing against brothers charged after deleted basement security footage was recovered in November, only a handful of charges are bound over for trial — including some reckless endangerment charges, as well as furnishing alcohol to minors and hazing charges.

Since the Attorney General’s Office took over for former Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, prosecution has pursued involuntary manslaughter charges against less than half of the 13 originally charged with the crime, and dropped aggravated assault charges entirely against those 13 former brothers.

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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