Frat Member Told 911: 'We Have a Friend Who's Unconscious'

Timothy Piazza Evelyn Piazza James Piazza

Almost two dozen members of a Penn State University fraternity are facing criminal charges, including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, after a pledge fatally fell down stairs during an alcohol-fueled event, Pennsylvania prosecutors announced Friday.

Channel 4 has learned one of the Beta Theta Pi brothers charged in the death of pledge Timothy Piazza is a former student of Battle Ground Academy in Franklin. Ten other fraternity members who face more serious charges were arraigned Friday.

"This is a very sad day", Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said after the charges were announced.

Police had said hazing and excessive drinking at the private chapter house February 2 contributed to the death of Timothy Piazza, 19, a sophomore engineering student from Lebanon, New Jersey. During the pledging party, Piazza fell down the stairs after drinking excessively, but no one called for help for nearly 12 hours, according to police.

One of the 18 Penn State fraternity members prosecutors say played a key role in the death of a young man trying to join the fraternity is a Nashville native and prominent high school wrestler.

The Grand Jury presentment has a section called "Revelations from Beta Theta Pi's Video Surveillance", which begins with pledges arriving to the house for "the gauntlet", which one member of the fraternity testified was an event where pledges drank at series of alcohol stations, and consumed four to five drinks in as little as two-minute spans.

It wasn't until 10:48 a.m. that one of the brothers decided they needed outside help - although the brothers allegedly used a group chat discussion to devise a plan to cover up what occurred.

Along with Schiavone, Lars Kenyon, 19, of Rhode Island, also was charged with reckless endangerment, hazing and alcohol-related offenses. According to the New York Times, 8 of the 18 students and the fraternity itself were charged with involuntary manslaughter. "It's about building brotherhood, sisterhood", Burkman said.

The documents reveal the frat brothers put a weighted backpack on Piazza to keep him from suffocating on his own vomit.

The next time Piazza is seen on the footage, the grand jury said, four young men had dragged his limp form back up the stairs, stripped off his shirt, and placed him on a nearby couch.

The report describes the pledges engaging in heavy drinking, and Piazza at one point is seen swigging from a bottle of vodka and then consuming beer.

Investigators determined Timothy regained consciousness but fell several more times that night - hitting his head twice on a hardwood floor and falling onto a door, an iron railing, and a stone floor. Thirty minutes later he tries to stand again and falls face down on the floor. Piazza died of a traumatic brain injury two days later. Fraternity brothers stepped over him, according to the findings.

Penn State President Eric Barron also appeared on the Today show, reiterating previous statements that the university has tried for years to address excessive drinking and hazing on campus. The Beta fraternity is banned for good and a lot of changes have been implemented to the Greek system at Penn State. It had to sort out who was involved in planning the pledge party from those who would face lesser charges because, she said, they were not directly involved in planning the party. He said that as a result of everyone else being against him, "I was manipulated into believing everything was going to be fine".

Beta Theta Pi International Fraternity said in a statement that since Piazza's death "the International Fraternity has cooperated fully with local officials in their investigation".

Related news: