What can and cannot be said about a grand jury investigation has been in the news around Pennsylvania and in Centre County in recent years.
Now it is coming back up as the Centre County District Attorney’s Office reacts to Philadelphia Inquirer articles about the Beta Theta Pi investigation.
The articles paint a picture of the February evening Timothy Piazza fell at the Penn State fraternity house, suffering injuries that would lead to his death two days later. Some of that information comes from Centre County defense attorneys.
At least two Centre County lawyers were listed as representing fraternity members. Others said they didn’t want to be identified due to the ongoing grand jury investigation, according to the Inquirer.
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“I am disappointed that criminal defense lawyers seek to shape the public dialogue of an investigation to influence prospective jurors in the event arrests are made,” Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller said. “I caution anyone involved in any of our investigations that our office will investigate and prosecute persons who violate grand jury secrecy provisions.”
While Piazza’s death was ruled accidental by the Dauphin County coroner, the circumstances surrounding the incident are still under investigation by the State College police.
In March, Parks Miller would not confirm or deny that an investigating grand jury was reviewing the case, but the Centre Daily Times received emails that were sent to Beta Theta Pi brothers by adviser Tim Bream, Penn State football head athletic trainer and assistant athletic director. Bream, who a parent said lived in the Burrowes Street fraternity house, directed them to cooperate and meet with State College police Lt. Keith Robb.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane lost her law license and was convicted of being behind a grand jury leak. Leaks have also been brought up in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case and are a focus in his ongoing Post-conviction Collateral Relief Act petition as he seeks a new trial or an overturned conviction.