Crime

District attorney says video evidence was ‘brought back to life’

Stacy Parks Miller introduces new charges following recovery of deleted Beta Theta Pi basement footage

District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller introduced new charges against members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity after the recovery of basement surveillance footage inside the frat house during the night of frat pledge Timothy Piazza’s death. The paren
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District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller introduced new charges against members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity after the recovery of basement surveillance footage inside the frat house during the night of frat pledge Timothy Piazza’s death. The paren

In a news conference Monday, Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller outlined the additional charges brought against a dozen additional Beta Theta Pi brothers in connection with the death of Beta pledge Timothy Piazza.

Flanked by Piazza’s parents and State College police officers, Parks Miller announced that additional video evidence had been collected in the form of surveillance footage recovered from the basement of the Beta house on the night in question.

Police had reportedly been previously led to believe the cameras in the basement were not functioning, the CDT previously reported, until testimony in August revealed the belief that some video evidence had been deleted and could possibly be recovered.

This video evidence was “brought back to life,” Parks Miller said, and the depiction of the basement activities lead to 119 charges against 17 individuals. Charges ranged from felony involuntary manslaughter charges, to hazing, to tampering with evidence.

Charges were filed with District Judge Steven Lachman on Monday, Parks Miller said, with an arraignment scheduled for Nov. 28. She stated her intent to have a preliminary hearing as soon as possible, possibly combined with refiled charges against the previously charged Beta members and the fraternity.

The case against Beta has “fallen off the rails” in terms of scheduling, Parks Miller said, referring to the initial hearing against the fraternity brothers that stretched for several months over the summer.

Piazza’s father, Jim Piazza, made a brief prepared statement in which he thanked the district attorney and State College police for their continued efforts in seeking justice for his son.

“Tim was a happy and caring human being, and a wonderful son, who just wanted to join an organization to find friendships and camaraderie,” he said. “Instead, he was killed at the hands of those he was seeking friendship from.”

The elder Piazza accused the defense in the case of “victim blaming” and echoing the “catch-all” argument of not knowing what happened other than what was seen in the upstairs video.

“Guess what, guys,” he said, “now we know.

“Hazing is illegal and justice needs to be served,” he continued. “It’s time to man up, fellas, and be accountable for your actions.”

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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