Guilty Plea in Fraternity Death Case

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BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- The first guilty plea came Wednesday in the case of a Penn State fraternity brother who died after a night of drinking.

Ryan Burke from Scranton pleaded guilty to hazing and furnishing alcohol charges in connection to the death of Tim Piazza last year.

He was one of numerous Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers charged in the case but the first to admit guilt.

Burke's attorney said his client decided to step forward and accept responsibility as soon as he could. That's why he entered a guilty plea Wednesday.

Burke pleaded guilty to hazing charges and furnishing alcohol to minors charges in Centre County Court in Bellefonte.

Prosecutors had presented video showing Burke giving a bottle of vodka to pledges during a party at the Beta Theta Pi house in February of 2017.

One of those pledges was Timothy Piazza. He later fell down basement stairs and was left unconscious. No one called for help until the next morning.

"There are few words to describe a loss so great. This man understands that. Condolences go to the Piazza family. This is a tragedy, and he is anxious to make amends," said Burke's attorney Philip Masorti.

Tim Piazza's family released a statement this afternoon"

"We are pleased to see one individual accept responsibility and encourage others to follow in his steps."

There are numerous other Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers awaiting trial on charges connected to this case.

Ryan Burke faces sentencing later this summer for his guilty plea.

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