DA files charges against 12 new Beta Theta Pi members


    Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller filed charges Monday against 12 new Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers in the death of Timothy Piazza. (WJAC)

    BELLEFONTE - Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller filed charges Monday against 12 new Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers in the death of Timothy Piazza.

    The parents of Piazza were in attendance as Parks Miller filed involuntary manslaughter charges against five of the dozen newly named defendants.

    The defendants charged with involuntary manslaughter are Joshua Kurczewski, Ryan Burke, Jonathan Kanzler, Bohan Song and Aiden O'Brien.

    The seven other new members charged are Joseph Ems, Brian Gelb, Patrick Jackson, Reggie Goeke, Donald Prior and Braxton Becker.

    Parks Miller levied additional charges against five members of the fraternity who had already charged.

    The new charges come after Parks Miller reviewed surveillance footage from the night Piazza died.

    The district attorney said the video was deleted, but the FBI was able to recover it.

    Parks Miller said the new video shows Piazza consuming at least 18 drinks, none of which he went to get on his own, in under 90 minutes on that fateful February night.

    In addition to the involuntary manslaughter charges, other charges filed include hazing, assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering and furnishing alcohol to minors.

    Becker charged with tampering with evidence on suspicion of deleting the video.

    After the announcement of the new charges, the father of Timothy Piazza, Jim Piazza, addressed the media.

    "They left him to die alone, and they tried to cover it up," an emotional Piazza said.

    He said hazing needs to stop and said Penn State needs to take a tougher stance.

    "Our hearts continue to break for the anguish being experienced by the Piazza family, as this shocking and sad story continues to unfold. Student safety is our priority, and we will continue to hold accountable those who are found to have put the well-being of others in jeopardy. The Penn State Office of Student Conduct has completed the student conduct investigation and disciplinary process for 32 individuals related to the tragic death of Timothy Piazza at the now-banned Beta Theta Pi fraternity. The University will proceed with additional student conduct investigations, through a process separate and distinct from the criminal process, as appropriate, based on these new charges," said a university statement.

    An arraignment on the new charges is scheduled for Nov. 28.

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