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October 29, 2017

Prosecutors reinstate charges related to Penn State fraternity death

Some of the dismissed charges against 11 members of the now-closed Beta Theta Pi fraternity chapter of Penn State are being reinstated by prosecutors.

The case relates to the death of 19-year-old sophomore Timothy Piazza after a night of drinking and hazing during a party in February.

In September a judge threw out the charges of felony aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter counts against eight defendants, two of the cases most serious charges, according to AP.

On Friday all 16 of those counts were refiled, potentially meaning prison time for defendants if they’re convicted.

There were no new charges against several others, including one defendant who was accused of buying alcohol for the Beta Theta Pi party in question.

After the initial seven-day preliminary hearing earlier this year, District Attorney Stacy Miller said she would re-file. She also requested the county judge appoint a new district judge for the second preliminary hearing.

When news of Piazza’s death broke earlier this year, Penn State University President Dr. Eric Barron wrote in an open letter that he strongly condemned the “incomprehensible” story surrounding the student’s death. He also noted that rules imposed seemed to have caused the “underground” operation of Greek life hazing.

Piazza reportedly suffered a fractured skull and damaged spleen, in addition to consuming excessive alcohol.

At the first preliminary hearing, defense attorneys maintained their clients were not directly involved in the fatality.