Timothy Piazza 'Looked Like A Corpse' Before Penn State Fraternity Hazing Death

Lauren Perry
June 14, 2017

The Centre County Courthouse fell quiet as a projection screen showed pictures of Timothy Piazza lying unconscious in a hospital bed before he died. "He gets up again and attempts to go to the front door, but before he reaches it he falls head first into the door", the grand jury report says.

"You can not watch it without the heaviest heart and tears in your eyes", Kline said.

"I believe this is a case where the defendants have been overcharged by the district attorney's office", said defense attorney Michael Engle, whose client Gary DiBileo, 21, faces 56 counts, including involuntary manslaughter.

Security camera footage of the night Penn State pledge Tim Piazza was fatally injured at a fraternity event was at the center of Monday's hearing.

Just two of the 18 defendants waived their right to a preliminary hearing. Eighteen members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, which has since been banned by Penn State, face a variety of charges, with some accused of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault and others of less serious offenses.

Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey, died on February 4 from traumatic brain injury and other injuries he sustained as one of 14 pledges at a Beta Theta Pi bid acceptance party that included a hazing ritual known as "the gauntlet", requiring participants to drink amounts of wine, beer and vodka in rapid succession.

"He looked dead, he looked like a corpse" by the time he was found the next morning from what may have been a second fall, said State College Police Detective David Scicchitano.

Some frat brothers try to restrain him at times throughout the evening and put a backpack on him to keep him upright so he wouldn't choke on his own vomit.

(State College) - Hearings related to the hazing death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza begin today in Centre County Court.

Meanwhile, the party appeared to go on, as people came and went, some looking concerned about his condition while others seemed to take no notice.

By about 3 a.m., the detective said, Piazza was left alone on the couch.

4, 2017 after a hazing ritual known as "the gauntlet" in which pledges were made to consume exorbitant amounts of alcohol.

By then, Piazza had fallen down the stairs again and lay there for two hours until fraternity members found him almost dead in the morning, Scicchitano said.

"You would have thought it was a fraternity reunion", Piazza family attorney Tom Kline told the New York Times.

Prosecutors say the video footage supports the charges against the fraternity members, showing 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey, being directed to drink and then falling several times. But before the video footage was played, the Piazza's left the courtroom.

Members of the fraternity, in the courtroom well with their lawyers, watched the footage with rapt attention.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller says prosecutors will play video in court, and she expects the hearing to last all or most of the day.

In a May 18 letter to fraternity members, Beta Theta Pi house corporation attorney Mark Bernlohr said he reviewed the tapes and disagreed "with the vast majority of the factual and legal conclusions" prosecutors have reached.

Other reports by VgToday

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