In video of Penn State hazing death, victim looked 'like a corpse'

Danny Woods
June 15, 2017

The 18 Beta Theta Pi frat brothers - charged with a mix of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, evidence tampering, reckless endangerment and hazing - sat for the hearing set to determine whether there was sufficient evidence for the case to head to trial.

Monday's preliminary hearing aimed to determine whether there was enough evidence for the case against the fraternity members to continue to trial. In its wake, Penn State permanently banned Beta Theta Pi and instituted new rules for the rest of the Greek system, 83 fraternities and sororities.

By the time Penn State fraternity members called police, a pledge who had been drinking for hours and fell down the stairs had the look of a "corpse", a police official testified Monday.

Piazza was alone for about five hours, according to Scicchitano- five hours of footage showing Piazza lying on the floor in pain.

Prosecutors on Monday played videotape from inside a Penn State fraternity that showed a pledge suffering through an agonizing night from untreated injuries sustained in a fall during an alcohol-fueled event as his friends failed to call for help. People poured liquid on him, slapped him and even threw his shoes on him, Scicchitano told the judge.

At Monday's hearing for 18 Penn State fraternity brothers accused in the death of Timothy Piazza, a police officer said that Piazza "looked like a corpse" in surveillance video from the night of his death.

Attorney Tom Kline says the security footage shown in a court proceeding Monday shows Tim Piazza's suffering and a callous response by members of Beta Theta Pi.

The video surveillance footage was played in the courtroom documenting the time of Piazza's initial fall and the several hours in between that fall and the fraternity calling 9-11. She also spoke about the defendants joking and laughing after the hearing.

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No one at the fraternity called for help until the next day, and according to a grand jury report, some attempted to cover up the situation.

At about 10 a.m., fraternity members found the 19-year-old in the basement lying on his back, breathing heavily and with blood on his face.

"Following the hearing, most, but not all, of the fraternity brothers and their families got together, laughed, patted each other on the back and hugged as if this was just another fraternity get-together", James Piazza, father of Timothy Piazza, said on Tuesday.

Piazza died later at a hospital. He also was seen falling and hitting his head on the stone floor, and grabbing his head and midsection in apparent agony.

Piazza had "lost all color" at that point, Scicchitano said.

His attorney, Leonard Ambrose, denies Sala had any contact with Piazza that night and he says the chapter advisor - a Penn State employee - should be held more responsible. But they left before the video began airing on a small screen in the front of the courtroom.

Defense lawyer William Brennan, who represents Joseph Ems, said the video absolved his client.

The detective said, according to the video, no one gave CPR, and there was a lot of talking and anxious looks before someone finally called 911. His blood-alcohol measured at a risky level.

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