Preliminary Trials To Begin In Penn State Hazing Death


James Piazza, right, seated with his wife Evelyn, center, and son Michael, left, holds back emotions during an interview in New York.

(State College) — Hearings related to the hazing death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza begin today in Centre County Court. Piazza died in February after falling down stairs while dangerously intoxicated during a hazing ritual at campus fraternity Beta Theta Pi. He was 19. 

No one at the fraternity called for help until the next day, and according to a grand jury report, some attempted to cover up the situation.

All told, eighteen Penn State students face charges in connection with Piazza’s death. Those range from involuntary manslaughter to aggravated assault.

Their upcoming hearings are preliminary, which means the presiding judge will decide whether there’s enough evidence in the case before moving to a full trial.  

An official with the Centre County Court System says the plan is to hear from witnesses on all 18 defendants in one day.