Nearly four months after the tragic death of a Penn State sophomore who fell down a flight of stairs after he was forced to consume large amounts of alcohol at a pledge party, video footage from the incident was played in the court for the first time.
Timothy Piazza, 19, at the time of his death, was left to die as campus fraternity failed to help him and instead covered up the evidence that could have implicated them in the horrific accident. Weeks after the death, the Centre County district attorney announced more than 850 charges against the fraternity and its 18 members.
Now, proceedings at a court in Pennsylvania are underway to determine if there was enough evidence to bring the case to trial. During the hearing, people present in the courtroom were forced to watch a three-hour video of the tragic incident.
Parents of the deceased teen, James and Evelyn Piazza, were also present at the hearing. However, the defendants were completely unapologetic as they hugged and celebrated after the hearing on the fact that they were having an impromptu reunion.
“Following the hearing, most, but not all, of the fraternity brothers and their families got together, laughed, patted each other on the back and hugged as if this was just another fraternity get-together,” said Jim Piazza.
“We are highly offended by the insensitivity displayed given the severity of the crimes committed and ultimate outcome,” he further added.
Sixteen of the 18 defendants appeared in the courtroom. Judge Allen Sinclair ordered a continuance to be held later this summer.
District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said the decorum (or lack thereof) shown in the courtroom shocked her. Although she didn’t speak of the “laughing” incidents directly, she did make it a point of noting, “I don't see anyone acting sad. This is about Tim Piazza. This is about a dead boy.”
The harrowing video was obtained from inside the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Penn State. It shows the fall occurred before 11:30 p.m. after which Piazza was in immediate need of medical help — but no one called for it. However, he didn’t give up and attempted to crawl and rolled around the floor. He then vomited in his sleep and went in and out of consciousness over the course of the next eight hours.
One frat member can also be seen body slamming Piazza into a couch. He then dumped multiple beers on him and also threw his shoes at the unconscious student.
The victim was then seen in the video at 7:18 a.m. moving toward the basement stairs and then was not seen for another two hours. A little after 10 a.m., almost 11 hours after the fall, the men were seen holding Piazza to a couch.
Despite seeing his condition, the frat boys waited for another 45 minutes to call for medical assistance. Piazza was rushed to the hospital in the early afternoon where he died the next day.
James and Evelyn Piazza plan to file a lawsuit against both the college and the fraternity in the near future.
At 5: Incredibly difficult-to-watch video in court shows #PennState frat pledge falling, and unresponsive for hours w/ no one calling 911.— Dave Kinchen 🇺🇸FOX (@DKinchenFOX29) June 12, 2017
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters