Frat members charged in death

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — Eighteen Penn State fraternity brothers have been charged with crimes ranging up to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a pledge who authorities say repeatedly fell down a flight of stairs after he and others were made to run a gantlet of drinking stations guzzling vodka, beer and wine.

Beta Theta Pi members resisted getting help for 19-year-old Timothy Piazza, causing him to suffer for hours and possibly making his injuries worse, a prosecutor said Friday in announcing the results of a grand jury investigation.

Eight of the fraternity brothers and the chapter were charged with involuntary manslaughter. Other charges include aggravated and simple assault, evidence tampering, alcohol-related violations and hazing.

An attorney for the chapter didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

The grand jury, aided by security camera footage, said the fraternity was heavily stocked with booze for the Feb. 2 ceremony at which Piazza, a sophomore engineering student from Lebanon, New Jersey, and 13 others accepted pledge bids.

The pledges were pressured to chug vodka, shotgun beers and drink wine.

Piazza tumbled down a flight of stairs that night and fell several other times, injuring his head, Miller said. The next morning, he fell down the stairs again and was unconscious when help was finally summoned.

He died Feb. 4 as a result of a traumatic brain injury.