“Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode,” came Michael Weatherly’s voice after the last episode of “Bull.”
The CBS crime drama will feature a story that seems inspired by headlines at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
That’s not unusual for a courtroom television show. But these headlines hit close to home.
The story is about a fraternity party, the death of a pledge during a hazing incident and a court case with a large number of defendants, according to the preview .
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Those are the same elements of the case involving the Alpha Upsilon chapter of Beta Theta Pi, the fraternity banned by Penn State after the death of Timothy Piazza, 19, after police say he fell at a February pledge party.
Fourteen of the brothers in the fraternity are charged with crimes including hazing and furnishing alcohol. The chapter itself is also charged.
Glenn Gordon Caron, “Bull” showrunner and executive producer, said the similarities are not intentional.
“The sad truth is that hazing and the occasional deaths that arise from it, have become such an accepted part of campus life, that our story was developed independent of the tragic events at Penn State,” he said. “In fact, much of the episode was written prior to there being very much public knowledge about the case. And while our hearts go out to the victims and their families, our story is in no way meant to suggest anything with regard to either the legal or ethical complexities of this real life tragedy.”
On Oct. 3, the fraternity filed a request for a bill of particulars in its criminal case, asking for “the factual predicate for each and every count of each and every offense charged against the corporate defendant,” and drawing a line between the “Beta brothers” of the active student organization and the alumni members that administer the operation of the house.
Over the next days, seven of the 14 defendants filed similar requests.
Chapter president Brendan Young’s attorney Frank Fina wrote the detailed list was necessary “both to allow adequate preparation and to avoid prejudicial surprise.”
Daniel Casey’s attorney asked for the names of each person to which his client was accused of serving alcohol. Nick Kubera’s attorney asked for the name of the “male pledge” his client was accused of recklessly endangering or hazing or furnishing with alcohol in each count. So did Michael Bonatucci’s.
Parker Jax Yochim’s motion asks District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller to spell out the specific dates for hazing and furnishing alcohol, saying, “there were a number of incidents related to the fraternity in the spring of 2017 that were referenced during the preliminary hearing and it is necessary for defendant to know what specific incident the commonwealth is referring to.”