For the second time, video of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity party where a Penn State student sustained fatal injuries is at the heart of an announcement of charges by the Centre County district attorney.
The announcement of new charges against the former fraternity members is the latest development in a nine-month saga involving the surveillance at 220 N. Burrowes Road.
It started on Feb. 6, two days after Timothy Piazza died in Hershey Medical Center of internal bleeding and brain injuries sustained when police say he fell down basement stairs at a pledge party Feb. 2.
That was when two different individuals signed paperwork for State College police to take possession of the DVR players and video footage from the Alpha Upsilon chapter of Beta Theta Pi security system.
A month later, the fraternity was suing State College police to get it back.
In May, DA Stacy Parks Miller revealed the grand jury presentment that recommended charges against Alpha Upsilon as well as 18 fraternity members. The court documents pointed to incidents detailed on the video footage shown to the grand jury, providing a timeline from Piazza’s first fall around 11 p.m. Feb. 2 to when the 911 call was made about 12 hours later.
That didn’t stop the legal wrangling over the video.
Alpha Upsilon still wanted it back. Parks Miller said it was evidence and shouldn’t be turned over. Alpha Upsilon accused her of contempt of a court order and said the footage had been compromised after it was turned over.
Thomas King Kistler, then president judge, ordered the two sides to each find a video expert to consult on preserving and duplicating the footage. He wanted 20 copies made — enough for the fraternity, the member defendants and the prosecution — while the court kept the original.
Parks Miller challenged that, too.
In the latest filing, Parks Miller is charging fraternity members with tampering with the video.