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Third Former Beta Theta Pi Brother Scheduled To Plead Guilty In Hazing Case

A former Beta Theta Pi brother is expected to become the third defendant to plead guilty in the Penn State fraternity hazing case stemming from the death of pledge Timothy Piazza.

Bo Han Song, 20, of Wayne, Pa., is scheduled to enter a plea on Thursday morning before Centre County Judge Brian Marshall.

After a preliminary hearing in May, Song had held for trial three counts of hazing, three counts of unlawful acts relative to liquor and a summary offense of consumption of alcohol by a minor.

District Judge Steven Lachman dismissed charges of recklessly endangering another person and furnishing alcohol to minors. 

Song was among those charged in November 2017 after the recovery of deleted basement surveillance video. He is accused of giving alcohol to pledges, including Piazza, during the fraternity’s bid acceptance night.

Prosecutors said Piazza was given 18 drinks in the period of 82 minutes before he fell head-first down the basement stairs on the night of Feb. 2, 2017. Fraternity members did not call for help until the following morning, nearly 12 hours after the fall. Piazza died on Feb. 4 as a result of non-recoverable brain injuries and massive internal bleeding from a shattered spleen.

Song, according to investigators, provided Piazza with his final drink of the night, holding up a bottle of vodka for Piazza to drink from during the basement party that followed the fraternity initiation event.

He, among others, also was initially charged with aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter by former Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller. Prosecutors from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General withdrew those charges after they took over the case in January.

In June, Ryan Burke was the first defendant in the case to enter a guilty plea, to four counts of hazing and five alcohol charges. Like Song, Burke was among the brothers who provided alcohol to Piazza. He was sentenced in July to three months house arrest, 27 months of probation, 100 hours of community service and fines.

Joseph Ems pleaded guilty on Aug. 8 to one count of hazing and one count of unlawful acts relative to liquor. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 27. Ems provided alcohol to a pledge, tipping back a bottle of vodka, but did not give alcohol to Piazza.

Twenty other defendants still face charges in the case. A trial for most of them is scheduled for February 2019.

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About the Author

Geoff Rushton (StateCollege.com)

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.

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