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Hazing, booze topics in Penn State frat pledge death hearing

Written by The Associated Press | Jul 10, 2017 4:15 AM
timothy_piazza_penn_state.jpg

This Oct. 31, 2014, photo provided by Patrick Carns shows Timothy Piazza, center, with his parents Evelyn Piazza, left, and James Piazza, right, during Hunterdon Central Regional High School football's "Senior Night" at the high school's stadium in Flemington, N.J. (Patrick Carns via AP)

(Bellefonte) -- A judge presiding over a preliminary hearing for defendants accused in the death of a Penn State fraternity pledge will be getting more evidence before he'll decide if there's sufficient grounds to send the case to county court for trial.

The second day of a preliminary hearing Monday included questions from a defense attorney about whether 19-year-old pledge Tim Piazza had been forced into drinking a dangerous amount of alcohol the night of a Beta Theta Pi party in February.

The judge also is considering text messages that show fraternity members concerned about having engaged in hazing the night Piazza suffered severe head and abdominal injuries.

Help wasn't summoned until the next morning, and Piazza later died at a hospital.

The hearing is expected to continue for a third day.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Bellefonte) -- A judge is hearing evidence of worried texts from Penn State fraternity brothers as he considers whether there's enough evidence to send charges related to a pledge's death to county court for trial.

Testimony resumed Monday in a preliminary hearing for the Beta Theta Pi chapter and 16 of its members, accused in the February death of 19-year-old pledge Tim Piazza after a night of heavy drinking.

Prosecutors introduced a text from the house pledge master that said "it's over" and that he didn't "want to go to jail" for it.

Another text between fraternity brothers, as Piazza was near death in a hospital, says "he drank because we hazed him."

Authorities say Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey, suffered severe head and abdominal injuries before he died. Help wasn't summoned until the next morning.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Bellefonte, PA) --  The second day of a preliminary hearing is underway in the case of a Penn State fraternity and 18 members who face charges in connection with the February death of a pledge after a night of drinking.

The hearing in Bellefonte resumed Monday, following a 10-hour proceeding last month, when a detective was the lone witness. It's expected to last at least until Tuesday.

Some of the members of the now-shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity are accused of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, while others face less serious allegations. Two previously waived the preliminary hearing.

The case centers on the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey.

A judge will decide if there's enough evidence to send the case to county court for trial.
___
This story has been corrected to show two fraternity members previously waived their preliminary hearing.

This article has been updated. The original version appears below: 

(Bellefonte) --A preliminary hearing is set to resume today for 18 Penn State fraternity members who are facing charges in connection with the February death of a pledge after a night of drinking.

The hearing in Bellefonte, Centre County, began with a 10-hour proceeding last month, when a detective was the lone witness. It's expected to last at least until Tuesday.

Some of the members of the now-shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity are accused of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, while others face less serious allegations.

The case centers on the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey.

A judge will decide if there's enough evidence to send the case to county court for trial.

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