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Former Beta Theta Pi Brother Escapes Jail Time After Guilty Plea In Piazza Case

Centre County Judge Brian Marshall sentenced former Beta Theta Pi brother Ryan Burke to three months of house arrest and 27 months’ probation, according to’s Geoff Rushton. He will also have to complete 100 hours of community service and pay a total of $3,450 in fines.

Burke, who is the first defendant in the case related to the death of Penn State sophomore Tim Piazza to plead guilty, accepted charges of four misdemeanor counts of hazing, four misdemeanor counts of unlawful acts relative to liquor, and a summary offense of underage drinking.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Zarallo requested jail time of up to three months in a sentencing memorandum

Burke, the rush chair of the fraternity, was among the brothers that furnished Piazza 18 drinks in an 82-minute time frame during the social following the the gauntlet drinking obstacle course. He also helped carry an unconscious Piazza upstairs from the basement after his fall.

Burke was first charged in November after the FBI was able to recover deleted footage from basement surveillance cameras. His initial charges included involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, and recklessly endangering  another person, but some of those charges were withdrawn by prosecution prior to the preliminary hearing and others dismissed by the judge following the hearing. 

He plead guilty to his nine counts in June, with his attorney Philip Masorti stating that Burke is “accepting responsibility.” 

With 23 defendants still facing charges in the case, a trial date for most of those defendants is scheduled to begin February 6, 2019. 

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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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