Presenting PSU Frat Texts in Court

BELLEFONTE -- Fraternity members returned to court Monday for part two of a hearing about their involvement in the death of a fellow Penn State student.

That hearing into the death of Timothy Piazza from New Jersey began last month.

Prosecutors spent much of the morning presenting text messages sent by Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers after the death Piazza in February.

The Centre County D.A. is trying to make the case that the frat brothers knew they were negligent and tried to hide evidence.

The parents of Timothy Piazza were once again at the courthouse in Bellefonte to hear the evidence being presented against the Beta Theta Pi brothers.

Last month at the hearing, surveillance video was shown of their son visibly drunk and injured after falling twice down the basement stairs of the fraternity house.

PSU fraternity brothers haven't been speaking to the media in Bellefonte.

The Centre County district attorney hopes dozens of text messages including one that said, "Make sure the pledges keep quiet about last night," will speak for themselves.

Investigators believe Ed Gilmartin of Scranton sent that message the day after Piazza fell head first down a flight of stairs at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house at Penn State back in February.

Gilmartin is one of two fraternity brothers who waived their preliminary hearing. 16 others including Gary DiBileo of Scranton were in court.

A judge will need to decide if there is enough evidence against these men to go to trial.

In court last month, surveillance video from the night Piazza fell showed pledges taking part in a speed drinking event called "the gauntlet" where they were forced to chug alcohol.

Investigators say DiBileo had been through the hazing ritual himself and the night Piazza fell, DiBileo helped coordinate the obstacle course.

Dibileo told investigators he was concerned about Piazza. In a text message after Piazza's fall, DiBileo wrote, "We tried our best to get him to the hospital, wish people listened."

When asked why he didn't call an ambulance, DiBileo told investigators, "We wanted to make a decision as a group."

"What we heard was somebody that was still saying they wish that their pleas to call 911 had gone answered. He was one of the individuals that wanted to help this kid," said DiBileo's attorney Michael Engle.

The men's charges range from involuntary manslaughter to tampering with evidence.

This hearing in Centre County court is to determine if prosecutors have enough evidence for this case to go to trial. It is expected to last through Tuesday.

14 comments

  • COACHO

    Penn states brand is hurt nationally. But in PA its still like nothing happened. Between the Frat issues,Mass Corruption, ludicrous high tuition and molestation’s all his well in the valley as long as they still play football games.

  • Archie Beal

    Obviously these frat boys are responsible and need to be held accountable. However the young man that died is no angel either. No one told that clown or put a gun to his head and make him drink like a fool. He’s as much to blame

    • CeeMe

      No one is hailing his drinking. The moral and legal challenge here is that these idiots did nothing after he fell and didn’t seek help for 12 hours. Medical help might have saved him.

  • Are you for real?

    Frat bous and alcohol mixed in with a lot of stupidity. Yeah these boys should pay for this because even with all this higher education they have no common sense

  • Huggy

    Jerry Sandusky probably mashed these frat boys and they couldn’t cope with it. They may as well just move to Frackville

  • El Ma

    These idiots should spend a good, long time in prison for their role in this young man’s death.

    I think what I find so offensive is the arrogance and self-importance that these young men displayed at the time of Piazza’s injury, and at the courthouse. Doing high-fives with ones’ attorneys during a trial that carries the gravity of the death of a young man is not the thing to do in the courthouse in front of reporters, the victim’s loved ones, and prosecuting attorneys. Depraved indifference, pure and simple, and a clear indication that standing accountable for one’s actions has become a novelty.

    • El Ma

      There’s always been “hazing” to be accepted into any “elite” group, particularly in colleges. But, the initiation usually involved cow-tipping or some other stupid stunt. This business with running a gauntlet of alcoholic beverages as an initiation is one of the dumbest and most reckless things to do with the exception of drinking the alcohol, driving the wrong way on Interstate 80 while tying a Windsor Knot with one’s feet.

      And, the sickest thing is that these hazings are posted onto FaceTube and viewed as hilarity, fun, and frivolities. Perhaps, it’s time to disband ALL fraternities and sororities because, somewhere along the way, these organizations have lost the core values of what fraternities were meant to do.

      And, yes – Piazza played a role in his own death, to be sure. More’s the pity, but the need for our youth to “feel accepted” is causing them all to do really, really stupid and irrevocable things to themselves, and their loved ones.

      • CeeMe

        Hazing is stupid and needs to be eliminated. I agree with your post, for the most part, but the inaction of his fellow frat “brothers,” needs to be accounted for.

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