The Centre County district attorney’s office has announced it has reinstated charges against 11 members of a shut-down Penn State fraternity for the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza. Charges filed include involuntary manslaughter and felony aggravated assault.
In September, a district court judge dismissed felony charges against eight of the fraternity members but did not dismiss lesser charges filed against them. He also let stand lesser charges filed against six other men, as well as dismiss charges against four other members.
The victim was a pledge at the fraternity and died from injuries he suffered when he fell down a flight of stairs. Fraternity members forced all the pledges in attendance that night to drink almost a half-gallon of vodka. They were also forced to run a “gauntlet of booze-drinking stations.”
Video of the event shows the victim acting highly intoxicated while being brought to a sofa to lay down. There is evidence that within minutes, he fell down the stairs and was carried back to the sofa, unconscious.
Prosecutors allege that the men’s actions show that they knew the victim needed medical help, but instead of getting them that help, they did things like pour liquid on him to try to revive him and strap a full backpack on him as a way to stop him from rolling over and choking on vomit. Tim Piazza died two days later in the hospital.
In addition to the filing of the new charges, the prosecutor has also requested that a new judge be assigned to the case, citing several errors of law the judge made when dismissing the original charges.
Upon hearing that the new charges had been filed, Attorney Neal Goldstein said, “I am glad to hear the prosecutor is not backing down in this case. This group of defendants spent hours watching a 19-year-old dying and chose to not get him the help they knew he needed. Had they called 911, Tim Piazza would likely be alive today.”