BELLEFONTE, Pa. (WJAC) - Centre County Judge Allen Sinclair has once again dismissed all involuntary manslaughter charges refiled in the Beta Theta Pi hazing case.
The judge issued his decision Wednesday after a three-day preliminary hearing after a new prosecutor refiled involuntary manslaughter charges in February.
The judge dismissed all refiled charges on six of the 11 defendants, and only a few of those refiled charges were bound for court. Sinclair's decision virtually echoes the same decision rendered in September.
The judge also said all video presented during the latest round of hearings will be sealed.
“We will move forward with our case and the charges that were held for trial today. I am disappointed by the decision of the Magisterial District Judge and we are assessing our legal options," said Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
"My office is committed to seeking justice for Timothy Piazza and his family and holding responsible individuals accountable for their actions, consistent with the law and the evidence in this case.”
His decision came after a three-day hearing where prosecutors unveiled the "basement tape" which they argued showed Piazza was a victim of hazing.
Defense attorneys argued that the prosecution presented little to no new evidence since the original decision and that Piazza voluntarily drank on his own.
"While disappointed that the refiled involuntary manslaughter charges against the fraternity brother criminal defendants were again not sustained by Magistrate Judge Sinclair, the parents of Tim Piazza are heartened that the important newly filed serious conspiracy charges has been added and will move forward to trail along with serious charges of reckless endangerment and hazing," said Tom Kline, attorney for the Piazza family.
"These charges carry with them significant penalties, including substantial jail time. Jim and Evelyn Piazza are optimistic that Pennsylvania Attorney General (Josh Shapiro) will obtain a full measure of justice on behalf of their son, and this prosecution will eventually deter this kind of abhorrent conduct."
Another round of preliminary hearings for 12 other defendants is set to being May 2.