On the night of February 2nd, Timothy Piazza, a pledge at Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Penn State University attended a fraternity pledging event where the partygoers consumed a significant amount of alcohol. Due to the volume of alcohol consumed in a short period of time, he fell several times during the night, including down a staircase. The following day, the authorities were called for medical assistance, and Timothy Piazza was taken to the hospital in grave condition where he succumbed to his injuries on February 4th. Called by the prosecution as a hazing ritual gone wrong, this terrible tragedy has resulted in a large amount of fallout, including the fraternity being permanently shut down and a criminal case involving 18 members of the fraternity.
A judge is currently weighing the decision on whether or not there’s enough evidence presented by the prosecution for the 18 members of Beta Theta Pi fraternity to go to trial. The main evidenced provided by the prosecution are surveillance videos from inside the home that the prosecution insists proves that the actions taken during the night were indeed crimes committed against the victim. Charges include manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and tampering with evidence as the video shows that the alcohol was removed from the residence along with Timothy Piazza’s shirt being changed to a clean shirt. The defense teams working with the individual members of the fraternity that are facing charges state that while the events that occurred were a tragic accident, no crime took place.
Attorney William Brennan sat down with Good Morning America to comment on the video presented by the case. Brennan says that the video doesn’t show that those involved had the intent to harm Timothy Piazza. In fact, he continued saying he didn’t see how anyone, including his client, “could be charged with the knowledge that this was anything more than a frat brother who had too much to drink.”
New safety measures to be implemented in the upcoming semester are currently being considered by Penn State University on ways to prevent this type of tragedy from occurring again in the future.
William J. Brennan is a well-known and highly respected criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia. He is often tapped as a media commentator on high-profile cases in South Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, contact the Brennan Law Offices today to reserve a consultation with Mr. Brennan.