State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Attorney General's Office Appeals Dismissal of Charges in Beta Theta Pi Case

by on April 26, 2018 12:24 PM

Pennsylvania's Office of Attorney General on Thursday appealed the dismissal of some charges, including involuntary manslaughter, against eight former Beta Theta Pi members charged in connection with the February 2017 death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza.

Following a three-day preliminary hearing in March, District Judge Allen Sinclair dismissed a host of charges against 11 defendants in the case. In addition to involuntary manslaughter, charges of recklessly endangering another person and some counts of hazing, conspiracy to commit hazing and furnishing alcohol to minors also were dismissed.

“We laid out the required elements of the charges which were dismissed at a preliminary hearing last month,” said Joe Grace, spokesman for Attorney General Josh Shapiro, said in a statement. “In the interest of justice for the Piazza family, our office today filed a notice of appeal with respect to charges against eight of the defendants in this case."

Piazza, 19, died on Feb. 4, 2017 from non-recoverable brain injuries and massive internal bleeding caused by a shattered spleen after falling multiple times during an alcohol-fueled bid-acceptance event and party for pledges at the now-banned Penn State fraternity chapter.

Tom Kline, attorney for the Piazza family said in a statement that the family "is pleased to see the appeal by the Attorney General and wholeheartedly supports the appeal from the dismissal of involuntary manslaughter charges."

The March preliminary hearing was the second in the case, following an initial hearing spread out over the course of last summer. That concluded with Sinclair dismissing the most serious charges of aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter. Former Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller refiled some of those charges in the fall.

The attorney general's office took over the case in January at the request of new DA Bernie Cantorna, who cited an unspecified conflict of interest. Before the March hearing, deputy attorneys general dropped all of the refiled aggravated assault charges and involuntary manslaughter charges against three defendants. Some new furnishing and conspiracy charges were added. They also withdrew hazing and furnishing charges against the fraternity chapter's alumni corporation.

For the 11 defendants at the March hearing, each still has charges bound over for trial. Combined with other defendants from the initial hearing who had charges bound over and 12 more fraternity brothers who were charged in November and have a preliminary hearing scheduled to begin next week.

Some of the defendants at the next hearing face aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter charges. Shapiro's office has not yet indicated if it will pursue any or all of those.

“Attorney General Shapiro will speak further about his office’s comprehensive review of the Piazza case early next week," Grace said. "Our office is committed to holding responsible individuals accountable for their actions, consistent with the law and the evidence in this case.”

The appeal to the Centre County Court of Common Pleas is seeking to overturn Sinclair's decision dismissing charges against the following defendants:

Brendan Young

What was dismissed: One count of involuntary manslaughter, 29 counts of recklessly endangering another person (REAP), one count of conspiracy to commit hazing, 29 counts of hazing

Daniel Casey

What was dismissed: One count of involuntary manslaughter, 29 counts of REAP, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing, 29 counts of hazing

Jonah Neuman

What was dismissed: One count of involuntary manslaughter, 11 counts of REAP, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing

Gary DiBileo

What was dismissed: One count of involuntary manslaughter, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing

Luke Visser

What was dismissed: One count of involuntary manslaughter, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing

Michael Bonatucci

What was dismissed: Nine counts of REAP, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing

Joseph Sala

What was dismissed: 14 counts of REAP, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing, 12 counts of furnishing alcohol to minors, 12 counts of unlawful acts relative to liquor

Nicholas Kubera

What was dismissed: Eight counts of REAP, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing, three counts of furnishing alcohol to minors, three counts of unlawful acts relative to liquor

 



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
Next Article
NFL Draft: Barkley to Join a Run of Penn State RB First-Round Picks
April 26, 2018 12:00 PM
by Mike Poorman
NFL Draft: Barkley to Join a Run of Penn State RB First-Round Picks
Comments
Disclaimer: Copyright © 2019 StateCollege.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

order food online