The Latest: Lawyers want fraternity death charges dropped
Aug. 30, 2017
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on a preliminary hearing for Penn State fraternity members charged after a pledge died (all times local):
Members of a Penn State fraternity fighting charges they're to blame for a pledge's death are hoping a judge will decide they didn't act recklessly or maliciously during a night of hazing and drinking earlier this year.
Defense lawyers argued during a preliminary hearing Wednesday some or all of the charges against their clients should be dismissed before the case is sent to county court for trial.
Attorneys for five members of now-closed Beta Theta Pi focused on what occurred during and after a drinking station gauntlet the night in February that 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey, drank a dangerous amount of alcohol and was injured in a series of falls.
It may take another day or two to finish closing arguments for 11 other defendants, including several who face much less serious charges.
The lawyer for a Penn State fraternity president accused in the death of a pledge after a night of drinking and hazing says his client didn't see anything to make him think the pledge was at risk of dying.
Defense attorney Frank Fina argued at a preliminary hearing Wednesday that there's no evidence that former Beta Theta Pi president Brendan Young acted maliciously the night 19-year-old Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey, was fatally injured.
He says Young's entire exposure to Piazza's drinking lasted only 12 seconds.
But Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller says Young was "in charge of the fraternity" and sent texts afterward indicating he was responsible.
A district judge has to decide whether to send the case against Young and 15 others to trial.
Closing arguments are underway on the sixth day of a hearing for 16 Penn State fraternity brothers charged in a pledge's death.
Charges against the members of the now-shuttered Beta Theta Pi house range from involuntary manslaughter to hazing. Two other students waived their right to a preliminary hearing on whether there's enough evidence for them to stand trial.
A live-in frat adviser testified Wednesday he didn't see the alcohol hazing or other events leading to the pledge's February death.
Tim Bream said he went to his room after watching the pledge ceremony and left for work the next morning without seeing Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey. Bream is also the football team's head athletic trainer.
Piazza drank a dangerous amount of alcohol and fell repeatedly, suffering fatal injuries.
A live-in adviser to a Penn State fraternity whose members are charged in a pledge's death has taken the stand in the sixth day of their preliminary hearing.
Defense attorneys want to question Tim Bream about what he knew about events leading up to the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey.
Bream is also the football team's head athletic trainer. He was in the Beta Theta Pi house the night in February that Piazza consumed a dangerous amount of alcohol during a hazing ritual and fell repeatedly, suffering fatal injuries.
Eighteen frat members face charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to alcohol violations in his death. Two defendants waived a preliminary hearing.
The fraternity has been shut down by the university.
The sixth day of a preliminary hearing for former members of a Penn State fraternity charged after the death of a pledge is underway with arguments over whether an adviser who lived in the chapter house should be called to the stand.
An attorney for the head trainer for Penn State's football team argued Wednesday that he should not testify, saying Tim Bream has no evidence that could help exonerate the former members of Beta Theta Pi.
Bream was in the house the night in February that 19-year-old pledge Tim Piazza consumed a dangerous amount of alcohol and fell repeatedly.
Eighteen fraternity members and the fraternity itself face a range of charges. Two defendants waived the hearing.
Piazza, a sophomore from Lebanon, New Jersey, suffered severe head and abdominal injuries.
The head trainer for Penn State's football team could testify as a preliminary hearing resumes for members of a fraternity facing criminal charges over the death of a pledge.
A district judge in Pennsylvania plans Wednesday to take up a defense request to hold trainer Tim Bream in contempt.
Bream was in the Beta Theta Pi house the night in February that 19-year-old pledge Tim Piazza consumed a dangerous amount of alcohol and fell repeatedly.
Eighteen fraternity members and the fraternity itself face a range of charges, from involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault for some, to alcohol violations and hazing offenses for others.
The 19-year-old sophomore from Lebanon, New Jersey, suffered severe head and abdominal injuries. Help wasn't summoned until the next morning, and he later died at a hospital.