Recovered deleted video leads to new charges

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (WTAJ-TV) - Deleted surveillance video leads to news charges filed in the Timothy Piazza manslaughter case.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announced additional charges against Beta Theta Pi Fraternity brothers on Monday.

Parks Miller says the deleted video from the basement the night of Piazza's death, February 2, 2017, while pledging at the fraternity was recovered by FBI agents.

The District Attorney says law enforcement was led to believe the cameras had been inoperable on Bid Acceptance Night.

After State College Police further examined one of the DVR surveillance boxes, police say they uncovered evidence that the basement camera footage had been manually deleted as police were ready to seize the recording equipment.

According to Parks Miller, the basement video clearly shows a continuation of the hazing activity previously captured upstairs during the gauntlet.

Parks Miller says based on video, Piazza was furnished with at least 18 drinks in 1 hour and 22 minutes.  Because of evidence collected from the video, 12 new Beta Theta Pi brothers are facing charges.  Five new fraternity brothers are facing Manslaughter charges.

The attorney for the Piazza family said this is the missing piece to a devastating puzzle.

Jim Piazza, Tim Piazza's Father, said during the announcement that it's been an emotional legal process."

"We have spent the past 8 months wondering how can this happen on the campus of Penn State?" Piazza said.

On Monday Piazza spoke with a heavy heart as he recalled the death of his son, Timothy, who died while pledging at the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity house in February.

"The visions of him lying on a hospital bed battered and bruised and on life support looking as if he got hit by a tractor-trailer make no sense," Piazza said.

Throughout the first preliminary hearing, the common wealth examined surveillance video from the first floor of the house.

But Parks Miller said investigators noticed a portion of the footage from the basement was deliberately deleted.

"There was like a line in there that said deleted. Talked to the manufacturer and the manufacturer said 'that was deleted,'" Parks Miller said.

Following  dismissed charges for 17 brothers, the Commonwealth refiled the charges against 11 of the defendants.

Five of which have new counts against them based on the basement video.

And 12 new members have also have misdemeanor charges including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.

"It's time to man up fellas and be held accountable for your actions," Piazza said.

Parks Miller said Braxton Becker is accused of deliberately deleting the basement footage.

And Mr. Piazza undoubtedly said it was the actions of too many that lead to a tragedy.

"We are making holiday plans without our son Tim because of your actions," Piazza said.

The DA's office has requested a new district judge for this case.

An arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday Nov. 28th.


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