The Centre County district attorney is not letting Beta Theta Pi’s motion to compel go by without a fight.
On Thursday, DA Stacy Parks Miller responded to the motion from the Alpha Upsilon chapter of Beta Theta Pi. The banned Penn State fraternity’s motion asked Centre County President Judge Thomas King Kistler to force the prosecution to turn over video surveillance equipment seized after the death of Timothy Piazza, a pledge who police say fell down stairs at the Burrowes Street fraternity house at a party and went 12 hours without medical attention.
Beta Theta Pi and 18 fraternity members have been charged in connection with the incident. The most serious charges are against the fraternity and a small group of leaders, including involuntary manslaughter and hazing. Other members face lesser charges, such as tampering with evidence.
Parks Miller has insisted for months that the seized material is “crucial evidence.”
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“The lengths to which this fraternity will go to suppress and conceal potential evidence of a crime is astonishing. Clearly, the fraternity’s chief defense tactic is to compromise the Commonwealth’s investigation into criminal behavior,” Parks Miller said in a statement.
The issue will be in front of Kistler on Friday when the two sides meet in court. Parks Miller filed her answer to the motion to compel, but added a motion of her own, asking Kistler to dismiss.
Alpha Upsilon’s request, she said, is based on Kistler’s Aug. 7 order, which directed the parties to identify video experts.
“The order does not, nor could it, prohibit the Commonwealth, as the executive branch, from continuing to investigate crimes,” Parks Miller wrote. “The Commonwealth is obligated to investigate ongoing crimes in this matter and will continue to do so.”
The called the fraternity’s motion for return of property “premature.”