Crucial surveillance video showing the activity of a Penn State fraternity that is currently being investigated in the hazing death of a student was deleted, CNN reports. Sophomore Tim Piazza consumed copious amounts of alcohol during a hazing ritual at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house this February and died after receiving injuries from falling down stairs. Following the truth about the video status, more charges are being brought against at least one of the 18 fraternity brothers at fault in the event’s trial.
Although police initially believed that surveillance cameras in the fraternity basement, where students were drinking, weren’t working on Feb. 2, State College police Det. Dave Scicchitano now says differently. At a preliminary hearing regarding Piazza’s death that has lasted several days, Det. Scicchitano testified that he believes all video before the morning of Feb. 6 was deleted.
The court had already seen footage from the frat house’s first floor showing Piazza stumbling after drinking a combination of vodka, beer and wine, known as the "gauntlet." The tape shows him unconscious and being carried to a couch until he wakes and eventually disappears near the basement steps. According to prosecutors, Piazza was “ashen and stiff” when his fraternity brothers allegedly called police over 12 hours after his fall.
“There is no better way to describe the existence of videotape of that basement other than the word stunning,” said Piazza family attorney Tom Kline. “It is a fact that I don’t think any of the defense lawyers thought was ever going to surface.”
According to CNN, the hearings have been extremely tense, involving 16 defense attorneys often disagreeing with each other about details. The revelation about the deleted video is sure to influence how the rest of the trial goes. Court procedures are believed to continue this Friday with the possibility of a judge’s ruling by the end of the day.