What to Know
- Deleted surveillance video from inside a Penn State fraternity house recovered by prosecutors has led to new charges.
- Timothy Piazza, 19, was given 18 drinks in less than 2 hours, prosecutors said. He died after falling in the house and fracturing his skull.
- The footage has resulted in new charges that include hazing and involuntary manslaughter. Twelve new defendants were added to the case.
Deleted surveillance footage recovered by the FBI shows Penn State fraternity pledge Tim Piazza was given at least 18 drinks in the span of 1 hour and 22 minutes, Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said Monday afternoon.
That footage triggered an onslaught of new charges against members of the now-closed Beta Theta Pi fraternity, including involuntary manslaughter, hazing and providing alcohol to a minor, Miller said.
"The prosecution views that as forced drinking," she said. "He never once obtained his own alcohol."
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Twelve new defendants were implicated in the case Monday. Fourteen other members of the fraternity previously faced criminal charges in connection with Piazza's death. Several of those men now face new criminal charges, as well.
Piazza's father, James Piazza, noted that witnesses and several accused members repeatedly claimed they didn't know what else happened to Tim "beyond what was seen in the upstairs video. 'And we don't know what happened in the basement.' Guess what guys? Now we know."
“[Tim] was a happy and caring human being and loving son who just wanted to join an organization to find friendships and camaraderie," he said. "Instead, he was killed."
Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey, died of a fractured skull and other injuries two days after drinking a dangerous amount of alcohol at a pledge ceremony and falling down basement stairs.
He was discovered in the Beta Theta Pi basement the next morning unconscious and with severe head and abdominal injuries.
Security cameras showed Piazza spent an excruciating night in the fraternity as members made half-hearted and even counterproductive efforts to help him, including putting a backpack on Piazza to prevent him from rolling over and choking on his own vomit.
Footage retrieved from the frat's extensive system of security cameras captured many of the events that day. But prosecutors say a fraternity member erased key footage from a basement camera.