12 new brothers charged after video recovered

BELLEFONTE — Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller has announced additional criminal charges against Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers as a result of the investigation into deleted surveillance video from the basement of the fraternity house on the night of Timothy J. Piazza’s death while pledging at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house on February 2, 2017.

When law enforcement initially evaluated the video footage, fraternity brothers led police to believe that the basement cameras had been inoperable on Bid Acceptance Night. However, after later examining one of the DVR surveillance boxes, State College Police uncovered evidence that the basement camera footage had actually been manually deleted just as State College Police were poised to take possession of the recording equipment.

State College Police sent the box to the FBI, whose agents were able to restore the video from the deleted hard drive.

The basement video clearly depicts a continuation of the hazing activity previously captured upstairs during the gauntlet. The video captures brothers furnishing beer to the pledges at the beer pong gauntlet station and immediately thereafter handing them beers to perform another shotgun together as a pledge class.

On the video, fraternity brothers approach the pledges with alcohol, requiring them to drink wine, beer, and vodka. In fact, on video, Tim Piazza does not obtain his own alcohol at any point–rather, every drink consumed was provided to him by a fraternity brother. Based upon the video, Tim Piazza was furnished with at least 18 drinks in 1 hour and 22 minutes.

As a result of the basement video’s depiction of the continued alcohol hazing, charges have been filed today against the following defendants:

r Joshua Kurczewski — Involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangering another person, 10 counts hazing, 8 counts furnishing alcohol to minors, 8 counts unlawful acts relative to liquor.

r Ryan Burke — Involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangering another person, 4 counts hazing, 4 counts furnishing alcohol to minors, 4 counts unlawful acts relative to liquor.

r Jonathan Kanzler — Involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangering another person, 2 cuts hazing, 2 counts furnishing alcohol to minors, 2 counts unlawful acts relative to liquor, consumption of alcohol by minor.

r Bohan Song– Involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangering another person, 3 counts hazing, 3 counts furnishing alcohol to minors, 3 counts unlawful acts relative to liquor, consumption of alcohol by a minor. 5.

r Aiden O’Brien — Involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangering another person, hazing, furnishing alcohol to minors, unlawful acts relative to liquor, consumption of alcohol by a minor.

r Joseph Ems — Hazing, furnishing alcohol to minors, unlawful acts relative to liquor.

r Brian Gelb — 6 counts hazing, 5 counts furnishing alcohol to minors, 5 counts unlawful acts relative to liquor.

r Patrick Jackson — 2 counts hazing, 2 counts furnishing alcohol to minor, two counts unlawful acts relative to liquor.

r Reggie Goeke — Hazing, furnishing alcohol to minors, unlawful acts relative to liquor.

r Mike Fernandez — 2 counts hazing, 2 counts furnishing alcohol to minors, 2 counts unlawful acts relative to liquor.

r Donald Prior — 4 counts hazing, 3 counts furnishing alcohol to minors, 3 counts unlawful acts relative to liquor.

r Braxton Becker — Tampering with evidence, obstructing administration of law, hindering apprehension.

In addition to these newly charged defendants, the following previously charged Beta brothers now face additional criminal charges based on their actions on basement video:

r Luke Visser — 11 counts furnishing alcohol to minors, 11 counts unlawful acts relative to liquor.

r Gary Dibilio — 5 counts furnishing alcohol to minors, 5 counts unlawful acts relative to liquor.

r Nick Kubera — 2 counts furnishing alcohol to minors, 2 counts unlawful acts relative to liquor.

r Michael Bonatucci — 2 counts furnishing alcohol to minors, 2 counts unlawful acts relative to liquor.

r Parker Yochim — Furnishing alcohol to minors, unlawful acts relative to liquor, consumption of alcohol by a minor.

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