BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- Most of the serious charges against 11 Penn State fraternity members accused in the death of a pledge last year have been dismissed by a judge in Centre County.
The same judge dismissed many of the same charges last year after the first preliminary hearing when the former Centre County district attorney was in charge of the case.
In February of 2017, Timothy Piazza,19, from New Jersey, took part in a hazing ritual at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house on the main campus of Penn State University. Investigators say he drank heavily before falling down several times. He later died.
The second preliminary hearing for the fraternity brothers charged in connection with Piazza's death wrapped up Tuesday at the courthouse in Bellefonte.
Wednesday morning, the judge ruled that only five of the former fraternity brothers, including Gary DiBileo of Scranton, would have some of the lesser charges sent to trial.
In a statement Dibileo's lawyer tells Newswatch 16:
"It has been our position from the inception of this prosecution that involuntary manslaughter was not appropriate for the facts and circumstances of this case. Gary and his family recognize that a young man tragically lost his life and they continue to pray for Mr. Piazza's family during this extremely difficult time."
"That's getting way off way too easy because somebody died. I think they should do way more than just pay a fine and then move on with their lives," said Penn State student Aisha Aliyu.
We spoke to some parents on campus who were less concerned about those charges and more worried about what this means for their children.
"Ultimately, obviously, our judicial system is independent and is going to make its own decisions but I think, most importantly, for all campuses and not just in college but, actually, high school that we learn from these situations," said Susan Reicle.
In a statement, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said:
"We will move forward with our case and the charges that were held for trial today. I am disappointed by the decision of the magisterial district judge and we are assessing our legal options. My office is committed to seeking justice for Timothy Piazza and his family "