Detective grilled in Penn St. hazing death case

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on the court hearing in the death of a Penn State fraternity pledge following an alcohol hazing ritual (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Lawyers for members of a Penn State fraternity accused of crimes related to the death of a pledge are continuing to chip away at the allegations during questioning of the lead detective.

The fourth day of a preliminary hearing on Thursday included additional security camera footage of 19-year-old Tim Piazza stumbling and unsteady after a night of drinking that followed a pledge bid acceptance ceremony.

Defense attorneys are focusing on the evidence that involves their respective clients, particularly the camera footage that’s at the heart of the prosecution’s case.

Piazza was a sophomore engineering student from Lebanon, New Jersey, when he was fatally injured during a series of falls at the since-closed Beta Theta Pi house.

Lawyers for 12 of 19 defendants have already cross-examined the detective. The hearing continues Friday.



Video shot inside a Penn State fraternity house shows a pledge stumbling and unsteady about three hours before he was found unconscious in the basement.

Prosecutors played the four-minute excerpt Thursday during a preliminary hearing for 16 young men accused of various crimes related to the February death of sophomore Tim Piazza.

Prosecutors had previously shown other excerpts from security video, but the additional segment was played to show more evidence of Piazza’s medical condition.

The 19-year-old from Lebanon, New Jersey, died the next day at a hospital. He suffered severe head and abdominal injuries and had consumed a dangerous amount of alcohol.

There’s no video from the basement, and the lead detective says he now suspects it was purposely erased and charges may result.


9:30 a.m.

A hearing has resumed for members of a Penn State fraternity accused of crimes related to the February death of a sophomore engineering student after a pledge acceptance event.

The hearing for 16 young men who belonged to the now-shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity resumed Thursday and was expected to continue into Friday. Three days of testimony have already been heard.

Some defendants and the fraternity itself are charged with involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault in the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey. Others face less serious charges that include evidence tampering, hazing and alcohol offenses.

Authorities say Piazza consumed a dangerous amount of…

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