Piazza, 19, passed away on February 4, 2017, after suffering major internal injuries from a fall during pledge night activities at the Beta Theta Pi house at Penn State.
Piazza’s death spurred a multitude of changes in the Penn State Greek life community. On March 30, Penn State levied hard sanctions against Greek life focused on hazing. These changes altered the rules for how fraternities and sororities can recruit members and host social events with alcohol. Beta Theta Pi was also permanently banned from Penn State.
This week, the Beta Theta Pi corporation was charged with involuntary manslaughter, as well as eight other former members of the fraternity. Nine brothers face arraignment at 2:00 P.M. Friday at the Centre County Court House.
The list of fraternity members charged includes President Brendan Young, Daniel Casey, Jonah Neuman, Nick Kubera, Michael Bonatucci, Gary Dibileo, Luke Visser, and Joe Sala. Michael Angelo Schiavone, Craig Heimer, Lars Kenyon Parker Jax Yochim, Ed Gilmartin, Ryan McCan, Lucas Rockwell, Braxton Becker, Ryan Foster, and Joseph Ems were also charged.
Today, audio of the 911 call placed by a member of Beta Theta Pi after Piazza suffered fatal injuries from a night of drinking has been released.
In the recording, Beta Theta Pi brother Ryan McCann can be heard calmly informing the operator that Timothy Piazza has been unconscious, however, he does not mention the fact that the 19-year-old pledge had been in a near-vegetative state for close to 12 hours.
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McCann, along with 17 others, is now one of the brothers facing charges in the case. Two of the men, Brendan Young and Daniel Casey, were indicted on 200 counts by a grand jury.
Furthermore, grand jury testimony from Detective David Scicchitano which has been released in the case revealed that in the eight days before Piazza’s death, Craig Heimer purchased $1,179.30 worth of alcohol for the fraternity.
Via Daily Mail:
Those purchases consisted of ‘numerous cases of Crown Rouse vodka and Natural Light Beer, 15 cases of Four Loko and multiple boxes of wine’ according receipts inspected by Detective Scicchitano. Authorities claim that part of that massive liquor haul was later consumed by pledges in the hours before Piazza fell approximately 15 feet down a stairwell and sustained an injury that led to his death after the young men present refused to call 911 for 12 hours.
In text messages obtained by authorities which were sent in the days prior to the pledge event, one of the brother’s can be seen asking Heimer to make large alcohol runs. Heimer was one of the few members of the fraternity who was old enough to legally purchase liquor. In one text exchange, Michael Schiavone, who was also 21, asks Heimer if he could purchase ‘175 [Four] Lokos, seven cases of Natty [Natural Light], on crate of [Crown] Rouse.’
Heimer then asked how much money he should get, how many bottles were in a crate of the vodka and where he could get that many Lokos. Schiavone responded by texting that it would be $800 case, the crate contained ‘six handles’ and gave him the name of a local store that had close to 200 cans of Four Loko in stock.
Ten of the defendants were arraigned Friday and were released on bail and the remaining defendants will be arraigned next week. The ten brothers who were not charged with involuntary manslaughter are facing charges including reckless endangerment and tampering with evidence.