Crime

DA to hold press conference about Beta Theta Pi video

There is more to know about the night that led to Timothy Piazza’s death.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announced Thursday that she will hold a press conference Monday to disclose additional information in the case.

Piazza died on Feb. 4 at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. A Dauphin County coroner ruled the death an accident, but police quickly began an investigation.

Piazza, 19, was a Penn State sophomore pledging Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He fell down basement stairs at a pledge party around 11 p.m. on Feb. 2. An ambulance was not called until around 11 a.m. on Feb. 3.

Piazza suffered a deadly brain injury and internal bleeding from a ruptured spleen. The Alpha Upsilon chapter of the fraternity is being prosecuted, as are 18 fraternity members. Some of the most serious charges, such as aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter, were dismissed at preliminary hearing, but Parks Miller refiled last week.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, the press conference “will announce the results of the investigation into the Beta Theta Pi basement surveillance that was deleted by a Beta Theta Pi fraternity member after Tim Piazza’s death.”

The video played a central part in the grand jury investigation. It has also been at the heart of a lawsuit between the fraternity and the police department as Alpha Upsilon attempted to recover the DVD player and copies of the video.

“The video was deleted after brothers were made aware that an investigation into Tim Piazza’s death was underway and police planned to obtain the footage. The basement video captures the ongoing hazing that occurred on bid acceptance night and the continued repeated furnishing of alcohol by Beta brothers to Tim Piazza, as well as the other pledges, throughout the evening,” the DA’s press release said.

Alpha Upsilon has accused the prosecution of making changes to the video in filings connected to its court case.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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