CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (NBC) — Pennsylvania prosecutors filed charges Monday against 17 members of a former Penn State University fraternity after saying authorities recovered deleted video that showed some furnishing alcohol, including to a 19-year-old student who later died after falling down basement steps.
Stacy Parks Miller, Centre County’s district attorney, told reporters that the video confirms that Beta Theta Pi pledge Timothy Piazza was given at least 18 drinks in less than 90 minutes. She added that the brothers were the only ones seen handing the drinks to Piazza during the Feb. 2 pledge event.
Miller said five previous defendants in the case were being recharged, while 12 others are facing new charges. The charges range from manslaughter to hazing, as well as one charge for the fraternity member accused of deleting the footage.
“It’s time to man up, fellas, and be held accountable for your actions,” Piazza’s father, James, told reporters during the news conference, as his voice cracked with emotion.
A judge in September tossed out the most serious charges, including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, against eight of the former members. In total, 14 brothers who belonged to the now-disbanded fraternity must still stand trial in the hazing death, but for lesser charges.
The defendants have denied all charges.
Miller had said at the time that she planned to refile charges and denied there was prosecutorial overreach because the more serious charges were dropped.
She declined Monday to detail if the deleted video shows Piazza falling down the steps, but said he does appear inebriated in the video.
Piazza fell down basement steps during a night of excessive drinking, police said. First responders were not called until almost 12 hours later — after various brothers tried unsuccessfully to give him any meaningful assistance, prosecutors alleged.