'Sickening' Details of Fraternity Pledge's Final Hours Revealed

Eighteen frat members charged in death of Timothy Piazza
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2017 6:24 PM CDT
'Sickening' Details of Fraternity Pledge's Final Hours Revealed
Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, left, hugs Evelyn Piazza on Friday as her husband Jim stands in the background after announcing the findings in the investigation of the February death of the couple's son, Timothy Piazza, seen in photo at right, at a Penn State fraternity.   (Joe Hermitt /PennLive.com via AP)

Eighteen fraternity members have been charged—eight of them with manslaughter—after a 19-year-old died during a pledging party in February at Penn State, the Washington Post reports. Video from security cameras inside the Beta Theta Pi frat helped authorities piece together the final hours of Timothy Piazza's life. Those findings, which Penn State's president calls "sickening," were released Friday. According to NBC News, it started with a drinking competition called "the gauntlet" in which Piazza and other pledges drank copious amounts of alcohol—despite Beta Theta Pi supposedly being a dry frat. Videos show Piazza unable to open a door and needing help to walk. Doctors estimate he had a BAC of nearly 0.40, the AP reports.

After stumbling around, Piazza falls head first down a flight of stairs. Frat members carry him to a couch and attempt to wake him up, pouring water on him, slapping him, falling on him, and putting a backpack full of books on him. Prosecutors say frat members may have made Piazza's injuries worse. When one frat member says they need to take Piazza to the hospital, he is slammed against a wall and told to leave. Over the next 12 hours, Piazza would fall twice, hitting his head at least once, before falling down the flight of stairs a second time. Upon finding him at the bottom of the stairs in the morning, frat members waited 40 minutes before calling 911. During that time they were allegedly planning how to cover up what happened. "This did not have to happen," Piazza's father said Friday. (More manslaughter stories.)

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