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Most serious charges dismissed in Timothy Piazza hazing death

A Pennsylvania judge on Friday dismissed the most serious charges against fraternity members in connection w...

Posted: Aug 25, 2018 9:51 AM
Updated: Aug 25, 2018 9:51 AM

A Pennsylvania judge on Friday dismissed the most serious charges against fraternity members in connection with the death of Timothy Piazza during a hazing ritual at Penn State University early last year, according to the Centre County Court administrator.

All charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment were dismissed, the administrator said in a press release, which described the rulings resulting from preliminary hearings this week.

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Hazing charges were bound over for six men.

This isn't the first time these charges have been thrown out. Prosecutors had refiled the more severe homicide-related charges after losing in court, hoping for a different outcome from a different judge.

Piazza, a 19-year-old sophomore, was pledging the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Penn State when he died in February 2017 as a result of drinking copious amounts of alcohol as part of a hazing ritual. Beta Theta Pi was supposed to be alcohol-free.

As part of the ritual, Piazza consumed 18 drinks in 82 minutes. After he fell down a flight of stairs into the fraternity house's basement, fraternity members waited more than 12 hours to call 911. Piazza ended up dying from a traumatic brain injury, according to court records and testimony.

Prosecutors in the case have already secured two guilty pleas for hazing and unlawful acts involving alcohol.

In a statement, the Piazza family's attorney, Tom Kline, said Piazza's parents were "disappointed" in the rulings, but "remain steadfast and resolute in their support of the Pennsylvania Attorney General seeking to achieve a full measure of justice in the tragic death of their son."

The Attorney General's office declined to comment, citing a gag order.

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