New Jersey

Penn State Fraternity Security Video Shows Pledges Being Plied With Alcohol on the Night of Piazza's Death

The preliminary hearing for 11 former members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity focused on deleted video footage the FBI recovered

Security video shot in the basement of a Penn State fraternity house the night a pledge was fatally injured during an evening of hazing and drinking was played in court on Monday and shows fraternity members plying pledges with alcohol. said testimony in the preliminary hearing for 11 former members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity focused on deleted video the FBI recovered.

This is the second preliminary hearing for the defendants, required because some charges that had been dismissed were refiled and additional charges were added.

The footage shows fraternity brothers handing beers or bottles to pledges. That continues after 19-year-old pledge Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey, appears to be staggering in the basement.

Piazza fell down the basement stairs, and spent the night on the fraternity house's first floor, mostly on a couch but he also is seen on video stumbling and falling several times.

Footage shows Piazza walking toward the basement stairs the next morning, and then through the basement toward a bar. He is later seen near the bar, with his head on the floor in between his arms.

About two hours later, he was found unconscious and carried upstairs. Video shows fraternity members standing around Piazza for more than 40 minutes before anyone calls for an ambulance.

Piazza later died at a hospital from severe head injuries that included a skull fracture and a shattered spleen that caused massive abdominal bleeding.

The hearing will decide if there is enough evidence to send the case to county court for trial.

Five of the 11 former fraternity members face involuntary manslaughter charges, while other allegations include hazing, reckless endangerment, conspiracy and alcohol violations.

Some charges were previously bound over for trial, and other defendants are scheduled for a preliminary hearing in May.

Police said Piazza was served 18 drinks over 82 minutes before he fell down the basement steps and was rendered unconscious.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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