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Dismissed Charges Refiled Against Beta Theta Pi Members in Piazza Death

by on October 27, 2017 12:28 PM

Update at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 27

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller refiled charges including aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter against former members of Beta Theta Pi fraternity in connection with the February death of Penn State student and pledge Timothy Piazza.

After a seven-day preliminary hearing that stretched throughout the summer, District Judge Allen Sinclair dismissed charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and involuntary manslaughter against eight men and a charge of involuntary manslaughter against the Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Beta Theta Pi. He also dismissed various misdemeanor charges against a number of defendants, and bound over misdemeanor charges against 14.

Parks Miller vowed at the time to refile some of those dismissed charges, and on Friday she did.

Charges were refiled against 11 defendants, each of whom already had other misdemeanor charges bound over in September. The charges were filed with Sinclair's office, but Parks Miller also filed a motion for Centre County President Judge Pamela Ruest to appoint a different magistrate to oversee the new preliminary hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

“Today we refiled the previously dismissed charges for Tim Piazza’s unnecessary death," Parks Miller said. "These refiled charges are accompanied by a motion to have a new magistrate appointed for a new preliminary hearing. We plan to join these refiled charges with the first set so they can move through the system together as originally intended. Continuing investigation is occurring around other outstanding matters and additional new charges may be forthcoming.”

In asking for a new district judge for the preliminary hearing, Parks Miller argues Sinclair committed errors of law. She also asks the District Judge Steven Lachman not be assigned to the hearing either.

Lachman, the filing claims, was formerly employed by and identifies closely with Penn State; "openly advocates for student defendants" "openly criticizes police and prosecutors," and "campaigned for his current position on a platform of second chances and leniency for PSU student defendants." Excluding Lachman and Sinclair would leave District Judges Carmine Prestia, Kelley Gillette-Walker or Thomas Jordan.

Piazza died on Feb. 4 from traumatic brain injuries and massive internal bleeding after falling multiple times throughout the night of Feb. 2 and morning of Feb. 3 following an alcohol-fueled bid acceptance event at the Beta Theta Pi house. Surveillance video from inside the house documented Piazza's worsening condition following his initial fall down the basement stairs at 11:22 p.m. Fraternity members did not call for help until 10:48 a.m. on Feb. 3.

Penn State permanently banned the chapter and the national fraternity revoked the chapter's recognition.

Refiled charges are as follows:

Brendan Young

  • aggravated assault
  • involuntary manslaughter
  • simple assault
  • recklessly endangering another person (36 counts)
  • hazing (36 counts)
  • unlawful acts relative to liquor (34 counts)

Daniel Casey

  • involuntary manslaughter
  • aggravated assault
  • simple assault
  • hazing (36 counts)
  • recklessly endangering another person (36 counts)
  • unlawful acts relative to liquor (34 counts)

Jonah Neuman

  • involuntary manslaughter
  • aggravated assault
  • simple assault
  • recklessly endangering another person (11 counts)
  • furnishing alcohol to minors (9 counts)
  • unlawful acts relative to liquor (9 counts)

Nick Kubera

  • involuntary manslaughter
  • aggravated assault
  • simple assault
  • recklessly endangering another person (8 counts)
  • furnishing alcohol to minors (7 counts)
  • unlawful acts relative to liquor (7 counts)

Michael Bonatucci

  • aggravated assault
  • involuntary manslaughter
  • simple assault
  • furnishing alcohol and liquor law violations (8 counts)
  • recklessly endangering another person (9 counts)
  • unlawful acts relative to liquor (8 counts)

Gary DiBileo

  • aggravated assault
  • involuntary manslaughter
  • simple assault

Luke Visser

  • aggravated assault
  • involuntary manslaughter
  • simple assault

Joe Sala

  • involuntary manslaughter
  • aggravated assault
  • simple assault
  • recklessly endangering another person (14 counts)
  • furnishing alcohol to minors (10 counts)
  • unlawful acts relative to liquor (10 counts)

Michael Angelo Schiavone

  • recklessly endangering another person (13 counts)
  • furnishing alcohol to minors (12 counts)
  • unlawful acts relative to liquor (12 counts)

Lars Kenyon

  • recklessly endangering another person (14 counts)
  • furnishing alcohol to minors (12 counts)
  • unlawful acts relative to liquor (12 counts)

Parker Yochim

  • recklessly endangering another person (14 counts)


Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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