An attorney brought additional charges against 17 former Pennsylvania State University fraternity members Monday after viewing a video in which frat brothers gave a now-deceased student 18 drinks in under 90 minutes.
Stacy Parks Miller, a Pennsylvania district attorney, detailed the charges after police discovered that fraternity members had misled them regarding the functionality of the cameras and manually erased footage of student Timothy Piazza’s death, reported The Washington Post.
Five former Pennsylvania State fraternity brothers are charged with involuntary manslaughter and 17 brothers in total are charged with tampering with evidence and hazing. The video obtained by the FBI displayed fraternity members commanding pledging students to drink various types of alcohol in the basement of the Beta Theta Pi frat.
Piazza fell down stairs in the frat after drinking, but police reported that they were not called until 12 hours later. Pennsylvania State University banned Beta Theta Pi from campus and clamped down on the rest of its Greek organizations.
“I spent the summer successfully defending my client against charges that should never have been brought in the first place,” said William J. Brennan, an attorney for one of the accused students, to WaPo. “I can’t imagine if there was evidence of hazing the DA didn’t have it when she brought the initial charge. This reeks of malicious prosecution at this point.”
“Not every tragedy is a crime,” he continued. “While I have tremendous empathy for the Piazza family and pray for them every single day as a man and as a father, as a lawyer, I’m outraged that this DA would charge my client again.”
Pennsylvania District Judge Allen Sinclair threw out all of the felony charges levied against the frat brothers in September, but did not provide a reason. (RELATED: Judge Tosses Out Serious Charges In Penn State Fraternity Death Case)
“Tim was a happy and caring human being and a wonderful son who just wanted to join an organization to find friendships and camaraderie,” said Jim and Evelyn Piazza, the deceased student’s parents, who said they would have been looking forward to their son coming home for Thanksgiving. “Instead he was killed at the hands of those he was seeking friendship from. We have spent the past eight months wondering — how can this happen on the campus of Penn State? The visions of him lying in a hospital bed, battered and bruised, and on life support, looking as if he got hit by a tractor trailer make no sense.”
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