More Closing Arguments in Penn State Fraternity Hearing

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BELLEFONTE -- The hearing for a group of Penn State frat brothers charged in the death of a pledge is winding down.

The lawyer of one of those brothers -- Gary DiBileo Jr. from Scranton -- gave his closing arguments at the Centre County courthouse on Thursday.

DiBileo faces 56 counts for the death of Tim Piazza but his lawyer only asked the judge to consider dismissing 17, including involuntary manslaughter.

DiBileo, his mother, and father -- the Lackawanna County controller returned to the Centre County Courthouse. This time it's closing arguments and DiBileo's lawyer Mike Engle was up first.

"Our real focus here is on the more serious offenses involving the injury and death of Timothy Piazza," Engle said.

DiBileo is one of 18 Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers charged in the death of pledge Timothy Piazza. The 19-year-old from New Jersey died after he fell multiple times after drinking during a hazing ritual at a Penn State fraternity house in February.

DiBileo faces over 50 charges; the most serious include involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault

Engle argued the pledges made the choice to come to the hazing and through text messages were made aware there could be drinking.

As a newer member of the fraternity, Engle says DiBileo wasn't in charge and was asked to help during the gauntlet, an obstacle course where pledges drank heavily.

"In one breath the Commonwealth is suggesting everyone that was there is responsible, but in another sense, they are not charging all of those people," Engle said.

In court, Engle claimed three fraternity brothers wanted to get Piazza help. Of those fraternity brothers, just DiBileo has been charged.

"The fact of wanting to get him help shows that he didn't have criminal intent here. It's the same lack of criminal intent that the other two had and the fact that the Commonwealth made this decision, in my opinion, is a huge mistake," Engle added.

"In this case, we are looking at individuals like Mr. DiBileo tried to get him help and that is commendable, but we also are looking at the other aspect of it -- that he was involved in the so-called gauntlet," said Piazza family attorney Tom Kline.

The Centre County district attorney says a lot of the arguments lawyers are making at this hearing should wait for a trial.

A decision on whether to proceed to trial could come on Friday.


  • El Ma

    The question is this: if the new pledges had made the decision to NOT participate in the alcohol haze, would they still have been accepted as frat members? Anyone? Hmmm? (head shake of disapproval)

      • El Ma

        I agree. They should definitely do time, and I cannot imagine why their attorneys didn’t advise them to plead out. Incredible, and I hope that they do some serious time for their arrogance – nothing like dropping some soap in the shower to show these idiots that they’re no better than the next fool.

        There is a legal term that applies to these frat “brothers.” Depraved Indifference. Their choices and actions clearly reflect this definition, and they did EVERYTHING short of torching the frat house to hide, deflect, and deny their roles in what happened to Piazza.

        Yes, Piazza made a fatal choice, but his life might have not ended if someone had stepped up and called an ambulance. ANYONE at that drunken orgy could have stood up and done the right thing. But, they were all involved in posting to their social media pages, FaceTube, and acting like the fools that they are.

    • El Ma

      Anyone? Can any one answer my question? Would new pledges have been accepted as fraternity members if they had NOT participated in the consumption of mass quantities of alcohol? If you can take the time to vote down the comment, take the time to answer my question. ;-)

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