Joseph Ems Jr, a former fraternity member at Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi who was charged in the hazing death of Timothy Piazza, will enter a guilty plea.
The 22-year-old is facing one count of hazing and one count of unlawful acts relative to liquor, malt and brewed beverages and licenses bound over, as previously reported by the Collegia
Ems Jr’s plea just days after Ryan Burke, another former Beta Theta Pi fraternity to plead guilty, was sentenced to three months of house arrest and 27 months of probation.
Since Piazza’s death in February 2017, more than 20 people have been charged.
The 22-year-old from Philadelphia was bound over for trial on one misdemeanor count of hazing and one misdemeanor count of furnishing liquor. District Judge Steven Lachman dismissed one misdemeanor count of furnishing alcohol to a minor in May.
The two charges bound over, however, are not related to Ems’ conduct toward Piazza. They are related to Ems’ conduct toward pledge Thaddeus Lorenz, according to another court document.
Jay Abom, of the firm Abom and Kutulakis, which represents Ems, declined to comment Wednesday. Tom Kline, attorney for the Piazza family, did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Piazza passed away on February 4, 2017, after suffering a fractured skull and severe abdominal injuries from a fall during pledge night activities at the Beta Theta Pi house at Penn State. During the night, Piazza’s blood-alcohol level went “from a zero to as high as a .36”
Piazza’s death spurred a cascade of changes in the Penn State Greek life community and across the country. The school 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.