Former Beta Theta Pi Brother Found Guilty On One Count, Not Guilty On Two Others
A former Beta Theta Pi brother accused of erasing video evidence related to the 2017 death of Penn State fraternity pledge Timothy Piazza was acquitted on two misdemeanor charges and convicted on another by a Centre County jury on Thursday.
Braxton Becker was found not guilty of misdemeanor counts of tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice. The 22-year-old was found guilty of hindering apprehension
The jury deliberated for about five hours before delivering the split verdict, following two days of testimony. Becker will be sentenced in August.
He is the first defendant in the case to go to trial. More than two dozen fraternity brothers have been charged in the case, with most pleading guilty to misdemeanors or entering Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition programs for first-time offenders, and a few have had charges dismissed. Only former fraternity president Brendan Young and pledgemaster Daniel Casey still face trial, with their cases on hold pending appeals to state Superior Court.
Prosecutors alleged that Becker had deleted video from the frat house’s basement, footage which was later recovered by the F.B.I.
Surveillance video from the house has been key evidence in the case for prosecutors to determine who provided alcohol to pledges and who was aware of Piazza’s condition after his fall down the basement stairs. The 19-year-old died on Feb. 4, 2017, of head trauma, brain injuries and internal bleeding. Prosecutors said he was given 18 drinks in 82 minutes before he fell and that no one called for help until nearly 12 hours later.
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