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Though A Judge Tossed Out The Most Serious Charges, Penn State Fraternity Members Will Still Stand Trial Over 2017 Hazing Death

Eleven more members of Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity are heading to court, according to a story released by the Chicago Tribune on Monday, as the judge presiding over the case has ruled there is enough evidence to support criminal charges against the fraternity members involved in a pledge’s death last year.

As previously reported in Feb. 2017, Beta pledge, 19 year old Timothy J. Piazza died due to severe traumatic brain injury and exceedingly high alcohol blood content. After security camera footage was later released to authorities, eight members of Penn State Beta chapter were initially charged with involuntary manslaughter. According to the Chicago Tribune, Judge Steven Lachman dismissed this charge as well as all counts of reckless endangerment and destruction of evidence.

However, the 11 members now on trial (out of the 25 facing criminal charges) will still face one charge of hazing and one alcohol-related charge at the minimum. As AP News noted, the judge still “upheld 35 counts of hazing and 37 alcohol-related offenses” and also “threw out five counts of reckless endangerment, 34 alcohol-related counts, two counts of hazing and one count of criminal conspiracy against various members of the group.”

As CBS News reports, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said his office “is committed to seeking justice for Timothy Piazza and holding individuals accountable for their actions, consistent with the law and the evidence in this case,” adding that they “are in the process of reviewing the judge’s decision to determine next steps, and are pleased that 11 more defendants we charged will be headed to trial.”

The Penn State Beta Theta Pi chapter has also been expelled from campus.

Syd Stephenson

Oklahoma '20

Syd is an LGBTQ Studies junior at the University of Oklahoma. Currently, they are the senior editor for Her Campus, OU and a national blogger for Her Campus. After college, Sawyer hopes to work in journalism, the non-profit sector or as a lawyer. Previously, they were the assistant engagement managing editor and copy editor at the OU Daily. In their free time, they love to rock climb, exercise, read books about food, play with their cat Pizza, and put stickers on everything.