Sprawling Penn State hazing death case grinds through courts

Published 07-08-2018

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The sprawling criminal case against former members of a Penn State fraternity over the death of a pledge last year is about to pick up steam.

A judge has scheduled what will be the case's fourth multiday preliminary hearing, and the first sentencing is also on the horizon.

There are 25 members of shuttered Beta Theta Pi currently facing charges related to the February 2017 death of Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey.

He was fatally injured in a series of falls during a night of drinking and hazing after participating in a pledge bid acceptance ceremony. A 26th defendant has pleaded guilty.

The case has also spawned a pending legislative effort to toughen Pennsylvania's anti-hazing law.

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FILE — In this May 5, 2017, file photo, Jim and Evelyn Piazza, center, stand by as Centre County, Pa., prosecutors discuss an investigation into the death of their son Tim Piazza, seen in photo at right, during a news conference in Bellefonte, Pa. A fourth multi-day preliminary hearing was scheduled in July 2018, in the criminal case against members of Penn State's shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity chapter, who face charges related to the February 2017, death of Piazza, of Lebanon, N.J., after a night of drinking. (Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times via AP, File) - The Associated Press


FILE — In this Nov. 9, 2017, file photo, a bicyclist rides past Penn State's shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity house in State College, Pa. A fourth multi-day preliminary hearing was scheduled in July 2018 in the criminal case against members of the fraternity chapter who face charges related to the February 2017, death of fraternity pledge Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, N.J., after a night of drinking. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) - The Associated Press


FILE — In this June 13, 2018, file photo, Ryan Burke, left, who was a fraternity brother at Penn State's shuttered Beta Theta Pi chapter, walks with his attorney Philip Masorti, right, after Burke pleaded guilty to four counts of hazing and five alcohol-related offenses related to the death of fraternity pledge Tim Piazza, outside the Centre County Courthouse Annex in Bellefonte, Pa. Burke's lawyers have until July 24, 2018, to submit a document related to his sentencing, as the criminal case picks up steam against fraternity members facing charges related to Piazza's February 2017, death after a night of drinking. (Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times via AP, File) - The Associated Press