Details of PSU frat call released

Tennessee native charged in Penn State fraternity death case

During the pledging party, Piazza fell down the stairs after drinking excessively, but no one called for help for nearly 12 hours, according to police.

Following Piazza's death, authorities said fraternity brothers tried to destroy any evidence that would reveal what had been happening behind the doors of Beta Theta Pi.

"All indicators suggested Beta Theta Phi was a model fraternity - the house, privately-owned and situated like all other fraternity houses on private property, was lovely, the subject of a multi-million dollar renovation; both the Beta alumni and the national organization provided strict rules of behavior; and, the brothers had a no alcohol policy which stated that anyone caught drinking would be expelled", Barron said.

They're facing charges including, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Hazing, and Tampering with Evidence.

An attorney for the chapter didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

The grand jury, aided by security camera footage, said the fraternity was heavily stocked with booze for the February 2 ceremony at which Piazza, a sophomore engineering student from Lebanon, N.J., and 13 others accepted pledge bids. The pledges were pressured to chug vodka, shotgun beers and drink wine. They say the next morning he fell down the same steps a second time and was unconscious when help was finally summoned.

The cause of death was traumatic brain injury, according to court documents, the result of repeated falls, including one down 15 feet of basement stairs after being forced to drink excessively.

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By using a blood sample from Piazza after he was taken to the hospital as a reference, pathologist Dr. Harry Kamerow provided an estimate of the young man's blood alcohol content at different portions of the surveillance video. According the the prosecutor, frat members picked up the 19-year-old and brought him to a couch and tried to watch over him. Members allegedly deleted GroupMe, Facebook and text messages, ordered pledges to get rid of evidence of alcohol and told pledges to keep quiet about what had happened. "No parent should have to deal with this", said Jim Piazza, Timothy's father.

When a brother insisted Piazza needed medical help, he was confronted and shoved into a wall, the report said.

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity has been permanently banned from Penn State's campus, and the university president has introduced new regulations on Greek life in the wake of Piazza's death. Penn State President Eric Barron called the incident "sickening and hard to understand". The footage, they say, contradicted witness testimony. Four brothers carried his limp body upstairs, where some poured liquid on him and one slapped him in the face, the grand jury said. At another point, two scrapping brothers tackling each other landed on top of him, and his brothers placed a bag filled with books on Piazza to prevent him rolling over and suffocating on his own vomit. But the brothers failed to call 911 to get him treatment until the next morning. When the same brother insisted again that Piazza required help, he was told others were biology and kinesiology majors so his opinion wasn't as valuable as theirs, the jury said.

Correction: May 8, 2017 12:00 am - A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Timothy Piazza hit his head on a metal railing at 4 a.m.

"Timothy was lying on his back with his arms clenched tight at his sides and his hands in the air", jurors wrote.

"It was called a "gauntlet" and they made the pledges, soon to be brothers, run from station to station and drink enormous amounts of alcohol in different phases", said District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, according to a report by CBS 2 in NY.

All eight will be arraigned at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.

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