Attorney General to Fight to Get Frat Charges Restored

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says he is determined to make sure a jury hears the case against Penn State fraternity brothers he blames for the death of a pledge.

He's appealing a district judge's move to dismiss serious charges against some frat brothers.

In a case with national attention, Attorney General Shapiro went before the cameras revealing his team has finished a four-month review of the case involving 26 former Beta Theta Pi fraternity members charged in connection with student Timothy Piazza's death in 2017.

"They were told to put fresh eyes on this matter and not be constrained by any past decisions," Shapiro explained.

It's been nearly a year since the Centre County district attorney brought charges against the fraternity brothers. Many of those charges were dismissed by a district magistrate.

The D.A. appealed before the case was handed over to the attorney general's office at the beginning of the year.

"We concluded that some, but not all, of the charges that were initially dismissed in 2017 and refiled prior to our involvement in the case warranted our continued effort," Shapiro said.

So in March, the A.G.'s office went in front of the same magistrate who again dismissed some charges, including involuntary manslaughter.

Last week, the A.G.'s office appealed the ruling. He wants the charges to head to trial.

"So that a jury of 12 men and women from that community can make the ultimate determination of the defendants' accountability," Shapiro said.

Shapiro will now seek to reinstate the involuntary manslaughter against five of the frat brothers.

He says they each planned and took part in a drink hazing event at the house, were aware Piazza had fallen, and didn't get him help.

That includes Gary DiBileo of Scranton.

"That local district magistrate should not have the final say," said Shapiro.  "Instead, we firmly believe that justice for Tim Piazza demands that a jury should hear this evidence."

"We're very appreciative of the attorney general's office and his team trying to find justice for our son Tim," said the victim's father Jim Piazza. "No one's child should be hurt or die from just trying to join an organization."

A new set of fraternity members facing lesser charges including hazing and furnishing alcohol to minors will be in court in Centre County on Wednesday.

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