Timothy Piazza died following a pledge event at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house at Penn State University in early February. It was reported that Timothy fell down a flight of stairs after he had been ordered to drink various alcoholic beverages during the pledging process. Help was not called until twelve hours had passed. The engineering student died in a local hospital two days later after suffering a traumatic brain injury, according to a grand jury investigation.

Eighteen fraternity members are facing more than 1,000 counts, including hazing, reckless endangerment, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, and tampering with evidence.

Last Monday, sixteen of the accused fraternity members were in court for a preliminary hearing that lasted eleven hours. Two others waived their right to the hearing.

Piazza family

Jim Piazza, the late son's father, reported that his family was highly offended and quite disturbed by the behavior of the accused men during the hearing. They did not display appropriate courtroom behavior. Still grieving over the senseless death of their 19-year-old son, Piazza and his family were reported to have been highly offended by what they saw in court during the hearing. They witnessed jovial behavior from the fraternity members who are facing charges. Also, there were insensitive remarks made by a couple of their lawyers. There were a lot of lawyers present because most of the frat members had their own attorneys.

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Piazza told NBC News that after the hearing, some of the men and their families gathered and were laughing, patting each other on the back and hugging as if they were celebrating. The father added that he felt like the men were insensitive considering the seriousness of the crime.

Jim Piazza also said a couple of lawyers for the defendants were also joking around during breaks as they complained about having to spend so much time in court on the case. The remark came after watching five hours of a video of what happened leading up to Timothy's death. District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller described the tone in the courtroom as unprofessional. She stated she had never seen such hostile attacks in court. The hearing will continue on July 10.

After the death

After the death of Timothy Piazza, Penn State permanently shut down the Beta chapter of the fraternity, and the Beta Theta Pi International Fraternity suspended the Penn State group.