A judge threw out involuntary manslaughter and felony assault counts today filed against members of a Penn State fraternity in a pledge’s alcohol hazing-related death, ordering 12 of the frat brothers to stand trial on lesser counts. District Justice Allen Sinclair dismissed charges altogether against four of the members of the now-shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Fourteen fraternity brothers are now headed to trial in the case. Two had previously agreed to waive a preliminary hearing. Charges remaining range from alcohol violations and hazing to reckless endangerment. The decision followed a hard-fought, unusually long, seven-day preliminary hearing in which the defendants and a platoon of defense attorneys wedged into the courtroom fought against allegations that a night of hazing and heavy drinking caused the death of Tim Piazza on Feb. 4. Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller had argued that members of the fraternity pressured Piazza and other pledges to drink heavily, plying them with wine, vodka and beer after a ceremony to mark their decision to pledge the organization.

Source: Local News