Penn State frat death case plods ahead, but pared down


    FILE - This Nov. 9, 2017, file photo shows the shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity house on Penn State University's main campus in State College, Pa. During a Tuesday, July 31, 2018, sentencing hearing, a judge is scheduled to announce the punishment for Ryan Burke, of Scranton, Pa., the first fraternity member to plead guilty in relation to the Feb. 4, 2017, death of Timothy Piazza, of Lebanon, N.J., after a night of heavy drinking. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

    A string of guilty pleas has left just five defendants still fighting charges in the hazing-related death of a pledge at a Penn State fraternity two years ago.

    The case centers on what occurred at the Beta Theta Pi house in February 2017, when 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey, consumed a large amount of alcohol on pledge bid acceptance night and was fatally injured in a series of falls.

    The former district attorney had pursued involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges against some of the students. But judges tossed some of those allegations and prosecutors withdrew others.

    At one point 28 people faced charges. Fourteen of the former fraternity brothers have pleaded guilty to comparatively minor charges, mostly alcohol- or hazing-related.

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