Frat Pledge Who Died Was Treated Like 'Roadkill,' Say Parents

Jim and Evelyn Piazza speak out on son's death
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 15, 2017 2:04 PM CDT
Frat Pledge Who Died Was Treated Like 'Roadkill,' Say Parents
This April 4, 2017, file photo shows Penn State University's Beta Theta Pi fraternity house in State College, Pa.   (Abby Drey)

A fraternity pledge who was ordered to guzzle alcohol during a hazing ritual and twice fell down a flight of stairs before his death was treated like "roadkill," his father said Monday, days after criminal charges were filed against 18 of his son's Penn State fraternity brothers. Jim Piazza, the father of 19-year-old engineering student Timothy Piazza, said the Beta Theta Pi fraternity members were to blame for his son's February death. "They planned this night out," Piazza said. "They had all the intent to feed these young men lethal doses of alcohol—to bring them to alcohol poisoning levels. This was premeditated. They killed our son." The family of the college sophomore from Lebanon, New Jersey, told the AP that they are considering a lawsuit but are focused now on the criminal case against their son's fraternity brothers.

Eight face the most serious charge of aggravated assault, a felony that carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison. Timothy Piazza consumed what prosecutors said was a life-threatening amount of alcohol—his blood-alcohol content reached nearly .40%, doctors estimated—during a hazing ritual on Feb. 2 in State College, Pennsylvania, and he died two days later as a result of severe head injuries. Piazza's mother, Evelyn, said her grief has worsened the more she's learned about what happened to her son. Jim Piazza said the fraternity brothers "tortured" their son. "They held him captive and tortured him. They treated him like roadkill," he said. "Knowing that your son suffered the way he did over such a long period of time, and died a very slow and very painful death, frankly, it's haunting." More from the interview here; more on the "shocking" details of his final hours here. (More Penn State stories.)

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