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Another Former Beta Theta Pi Brother Enters Guilty Plea

A former Beta Theta Pi member on Tuesday became the fourth defendant to enter a guilty plea in the case stemming from the investigation into the death of fraternity pledge and Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza.

Patrick E. Jackson, 22, of Bethlehem, pleaded guilty to two counts of furnishing alcohol to minors, a third degree misdemeanor. Jackson waived his right to be sentenced within 90 days and Centre County Judge Brian Marshall said sentencing will be scheduled at a date to be determined.

Jackson is not accused of providing alcohol to Piazza. He provided vodka to two other pledges during an alcohol-fueled bid acceptance night event on Feb. 2, 2017, when Piazza sustained fatal injuries after falling head-first down the basement stairs of the now-banned Penn State fraternity chapter.

The furnishing charges appear to have been negotiated with the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, which is prosecuting the case. After a preliminary hearing in May, District Judge Steven Lachman held over two counts of hazing and two liquor code violations, which will now be dropped. The furnishing charges were added by information prior to the guilty plea.

Jackson, who was among the second set of defendants charged in November 2017 following the recovery of deleted basement video, entered an open plea, meaning he has no assurance of a sentencing recommendation from the prosecution. He is likely to face fines.

Ryan BurkeJoseph Ems and Bo Han Song entered guilty pleas to various misdemeanor charges over the summer. Like Jackson, Song had hazing and liquor code charges dropped and pleaded to furnishing counts.

Jonathan Kanzler and Michael Angelo Schiavone are scheduled to plead guilty on Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, respectively.

Kanzler had two counts of hazing, two liquor code violations and one count of consumption of alcohol held for trial, and has had furnishing charges added prior to his plea. One hazing and one alcohol charge are connected to accusations that Kanzler provided alcohol to Piazza.

Schiavone had charges of recklessly endangering another person and hazing held for trial.

Aiden O’Brien is scheduled to plead guilty on Dec. 6.  He had one count of hazing and three alcohol charges held for trial.

Four others — Ryan Foster, Ed Gilmartin, Reginald Goeke, Craig Heimer — were accepted in September into an accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program.

Eleven defendants currently are scheduled for trial in February 2019. Another, Braxton Becker, is awaiting another preliminary hearing on refiled charges of tampering with evidence and obstruction.

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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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