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Judge to make decision in Beta Theta Pi case

Judge to make decision in Beta Theta Pi case”

A judge on Friday threw out involuntary manslaughter and felony aggravated assault counts against members of a Penn State fraternity in a pledge's alcohol hazing-related death, ordering 12 of the defendants to stand trial on lesser counts.

According to the Penn State student newspaper, the Daily Collegian, Parks Miller argued in court that the former fraternity members knew the dangers of consuming large amounts of alcohol because they themselves had been through the type of hazing Piazza faced. Two defendants waived the hearing.

Although the most serious charges were dismissed, 14 will still face trial for the lesser charges.

"To say they could not foresee this as a risky event, is absolute incredulous", Parks Miller said during closing arguments.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel's petition for discipline filed in February said Parks Miller contacted judges about cases without informing defense lawyers.

The dismissal of many charges came after days of preliminary hearings in the case.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said numerous defense arguments would be more suitable for a jury to consider, and she disputed a suggestion that the fraternity members would not have known of the danger because no one had died previously during the fraternity chapter's long history.

Lawyers for the 16 brothers and the fraternity chapter asked the judge to dismiss all or some of the charges against their clients as they attempted to minimize the brothers' participation in the "gauntlet" - a hazing event in which fraternity pledges were made to consume four to five drinks within a few minutes at a series of drinking stations - and the "social party" that followed.

Tim Bream, also the football team's head athletic trainer, said he went to his room after watching the pledge ceremony and left for work the next morning without noticing Piazza. He was in the Beta Theta Pi house the night in February that Piazza consumed a risky amount of alcohol during a hazing ritual and fell repeatedly, suffering fatal injuries.

After Piazza's death, Beta Theta Pi was permanently banned from the school.

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 unsafe amount of alcohol and was injured in a series of falls.

A district judge in Pennsylvania plans Wednesday to take up a defense request to hold trainer Tim Bream in contempt.

Piazza, a 19-year-old engineering student from Lebanon, N.J., was fatally injured in a series of falls that he sustained after becoming drunk during a February 2 bid acceptance party at the fraternity.

The 19-year-old sophomore from Lebanon, New Jersey, suffered severe head and abdominal injuries. He soon died at a hospital.



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