BELLEFONTE, Pa. (KDKA/AP) — New charges are being filed against Penn State fraternity brothers in connection to the death of a pledge who died after an alcohol-fueled hazing ritual.
Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announced Monday that 12 new former members of the now-closed Beta Theta Pi fraternity are now facing charges in connection to the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey.
In addition, five former members who were previously charged are now facing new charges. Those former members are Luke Visser, Gary Dibilio, Nick Kubera, Michael Bonatucci and Parker Yochim.
Watch DA Stacy Parks Miller’s announcement —
Piazza died of a fractured skull and other injuries two days after drinking a dangerous amount of alcohol at a pledge ceremony and falling down basement stairs.
Footage retrieved from the frat’s extensive system of security cameras captured many of the events that day. But prosecutors say a fraternity member erased key footage from a basement camera.
Miller announced that the FBI was able to recover the footage, which revealed new information leading to the new charges. The new video has yet to be seen by the public.
The footage shows that frat brothers gave Piazza at least 18 drinks in one hour and 22 minutes. Miller stressed that in the footage, Piazza is never seen getting a drink himself; every drink he had was given to him by frat brother.
“They claimed we don’t know what else happened other than what was seen in the upstairs video. And we don’t know what happened in the basement. Guess what guys! Now we know,” said James Piazza, Timothy’s father.
He appeared angry as he told the fraternity brothers it was time to “man up.”
According to Piazza, “Over the last several months, we’ve listened to defense arguments centered around victim blaming. How could the defendants have known they were putting somebody at risk since no one died before? As if they were entitled to one free death!”
New charges were filed against the following students Monday morning:
- Joshua Kurczewski
- Ryan Burke
- Jonathan Kanzler
- Bohan Song
- Aiden O’Brien
- Joseph Ems
- Brian Gelb
- Patrick Jackson
- Reggie Goeke
- Mike Fernandez
- Donald Prior
- Braxton Becker
Authorities believe Brecker is the student who manually deleted the basement video footage while police were in the frat house. He is facing charges of tampering with evidence, obstructing administration of law and hindering apprehension.
The other new charges include involuntary manslaughter, various assault charges, hazing and furnishing alcohol to minors.
Involuntary manslaughter is the most serious of the new charges. The DA is hanging her hat on what the newly-discovered video allegedly shows.
“Brothers were coming up to him and giving him those drinks, including in the basement. So that’s the new evidence the Commonwealth now has,” said Miller.
Last week, Penn State University announced the discipline of seven students, with penalties ranging from probation to expulsion. In September, a Magistrate Judge dismissed the most serious charges in the case, those being involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)