Okay, I’m soon to be off and back to college, I remember when my parents first sent me off they gave me a rundown of the do’s and don’ts. One of those don’ts was talking about being careful of what groups I joined. For some reason I kind of knew I didn’t want to ever join a fraternity due to all of the initiations/hazing that was featured in movies and it really did scare me away. When I asked one guy who was part of a fraternity at a local university, he told me that the initiations aren’t as cruel as Hollywood portrayed them to be in films. Something deep inside me told me he was only lying to get me to be okay with joining it and thank God I still had those doubts because those stories of hazing did keep my guard up about colleges and their dark pasts like this story that is here that will rundown in Penn State University.
Via USA TODAY:
Sixteen former members of a now-defunct Penn State fraternity returned to court Monday for a preliminary hearing that gave more detail on the tragic series of events that led to the death of Beta Theta Pi pledge Timothy Piazza.
Piazza, 19, died in a local hospital Feb. 4, about 30 hours after the start of a night of drinking and hazing that prosecutors say saw the former high school football star fall multiple times, including down a flight of stairs.
Video footage from the fraternity’s extensive surveillance system was shown publicly for the first time when the preliminary hearing began last month in Bellefonte, Pa. Prosecutors used the video to help construct a timeline of the events that led to Piazza’s death.
Full Story/ TIMELINE HERE:
Here is how the night of Feb. 2 and early morning hours of Feb. 3 unfolded at Beta Theta Pi, according to the report, which cited evidence including video from surveillance cameras, testimony and phone records.
On the night of Feb. 2, Piazza engaged in drinking as a part of a pledge ritual and his blood alcohol content reached 0.28 and 0.36 percent.
His fall was not captured on surveillance cameras, but someone heard it, and when one man went to the top of the basement stairs, he saw Piazza lying face down at the bottom. In a group message to other fraternity brothers at 11:53 p.m. that night, that man wrote, “Tim Piazza might actually be a problem. He fell 15 feet down a flight of stairs, hair-first, going to need help.”
Surveillance video at 10:47 p.m. showed Piazza being carried upstairs by four fraternity brothers; in the video, his body appeared limp, his eyes were closed, he appeared unconscious, and a bruise was visible on his side. Piazza was placed on a couch, and liquid was dumped on his face twice, but he didn’t respond either time.
About a half an hour after the fall, at 11:14 p.m., a newly initiated member saw Piazza lying on the couch, looking “horrible,” he later told the grand jury. He saw Piazza “thrashing and making weird movements on the couch” and screamed at the fraternity brothers for help, stressing that Piazza needed to go to the hospital because he could have a concussion. One brother shoved the newly initiated member into a wall and said they had it under control.
At 11:25 p.m., the pledge master slapped Piazza three times in the face. At 11:37 p.m., one fraternity brother tackled another brother into the couch, physically landing on top of Piazza.
By 1 a.m., some brothers saw Piazza vomit and twitch on the couch. Three brothers filled a backpack with books and placed it on Piazza to try to keep him from rolling to his back if he passed out. At 1:48 a.m., Piazza rolled off the couch and to the floor, and three brothers picked him up and “slammed him onto the couch.” One brother hit Piazza hard once in the abdomen.
By 2:38 a.m., Piazza rolled to the floor and at 3:16 p.m. his legs were moving. At 3:22 p.m., Piazza tried to stand and the backpack came off and he fell back, hitting his head on the hardwood floor. A fraternity brother attempted to shake him for a moment and then left the room.
At 3:46 a.m., Piazza was curled up on the floor in the fetal position with his knees toward his chest. At 3:49 a.m., Piazza positioned himself on his knees, bent over with his elbows on the floor and his head in his hands. At 3:54 a.m., he tried to stand but fell face-down on the floor. At 4:59 a.m., he stood and then fell head first into an iron railing, landing on a stone floor.
“He gets up again and attempts to go to the front door, but before he reaches it he falls head first into the door,” the grand jury report says. He later rolled to his side, clutching his abdomen.
At 5:15 a.m., one brother came into the room, stepped over the injured pledge, looked at him and then left the room. At 5:26 a.m., another brother saw Piazza on the floor and walked him to another room but Piazza fell down three steps, and the brother stepped over him on the floor and left him there.
At about 10 a.m., fraternity members found the 19-year-old in the basement lying on his back, breathing heavily and with blood on his face. One brother said Piazza’s eyes were half open and he felt cold. Three men carried Piazza’s unconscious body upstairs and placed him back on the couch. Surveillance footage showed brothers shaking him and trying to prop him up. At 10:48 a.m., a fraternity member called 911 but did not say Piazza fell down the stairs the night before.
The grand jury concluded that after Piazza was taken to the hospital there was an active attempt to conceal evidence of the hazing and underage drinking, from deleting messages to admitting to discussing erasing surveillance video.
In a deleted text that was recovered, one man wrote, “If need be, just tell them what I told you guys, found him behind [a bar] the next morning at around 10 a.m., and he was freezing-cold, but we decided to call 911 instantly, because the kid’s health was paramount.”
Physicians concluded Piazza suffered multiple traumatic brain injuries, including a fractured skull and a lacerated spleen.
The preliminary hearing will help the judge determine if there is enough evidence to try the students, who face charges ranging from manslaughter and aggravated assault to serving alcohol to minors. The hearing began June 12 and was continued until Monday.
A grand jury issued a chilling report in May concluding that fraternity members were indifferent to Piazza’s well-being as he struggled for his life, then attempted to conceal evidence of hazing and underage drinking. Text messages were deleted and members discussed erasing video from the fraternity’s extensive surveillance system, the grand jury report said.
Piazza died as a “direct result of the extremely reckless conduct of members of the Beta fraternity,” aided by the permissive atmosphere fostered by Penn State’s Interfraternity Council, the grand jury found.
Two of the 18 students charged waived their right to the preliminary hearing.
The school barred the fraternity chapter from campus and has introduced new standards aimed at curbing excessive drinking at fraternities.
Okay listening to this story just didn’t help clarify what I saw in the news today but it did shed a little light on the situation. I feel like all of them should be charged rightfully so and these colleges just need to do away with these fraternities/sororities. I am thankful that I never felt the urge to fit in with anybody because throughout my life I was always the lone-wolf,but I was associated with a few people as well. I think all of this comes from people wanting to be grouped and categorized and fitting in. I have to say this was one long and painful death and only to be in a fraternity that he didn’t even give a shit about his well-being. Truly Sad!