Penn State Fraternity Member To Be Sentenced In Death Of Tim Piazza

Another Pennsylanvia State University student is set to be sentenced in the hazing death of Timothy Piazza. Piazza died on February 4, 2017 as a result of hazing.

Former Penn State Beta Theta Pi fraternity member Joseph Ems has pled guilty to hazing and two alcohol-related charges and will be sentenced today, September 27, in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

21-year-old Ryan Burke was the first member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Penn State to plead guilty in connection with the death of Timothy Piazza. He was sentenced on Tuesday, July 31.

Burke, 21, pleaded guilty to four counts of hazing and five counts related to unlawful acts involving liquor. The Scranton resident is just one of more than 20 members of the now-closed fraternity to face criminal charges over the February 2017 death of Piazza.

Originally, 25 fraternity members were charged with crimes, however, a judge dismissed the most serious counts of reckless endangerment and involuntary manslaughter.

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. Piazza’s blood-alcohol level reportedly 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.

Timothy Piazza, 19, was a 2015 graduate of Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Readington Township. He was a pledge of the fraternity’s Alpha Upsilon Chapter and was studying engineering while attending the university.

He also played football and track when he was in high school. He was a member of the homecoming court in 2014, and also served as a Red Devil ambassador at Hunterdon Center and on the school’s Teen Prevention Education Program. He did volunteer work to help teach children with special needs how to play sports such as football, basketball, and baseball.

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