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UPDATE: Serious charges thrown out in case of death of Penn State frat pledge

A judge has ordered 12 members of a Penn State fraternity to stand trial in a pledge’s death but has thrown out the most serious charges, including involuntary manslaughter and felony counts of aggravated assault.

District Justice Allen Sinclair dismissed charges against four frat brothers.

He issued the ruling Friday after a seven-day preliminary hearing. Two other students previously agreed to have their cases go to trial.

Security camera footage from the since-closed Beta Theta Pi fraternity captured 19-year-old Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey, falling several times in the hours after he and other pledges were run through a drinking gauntlet. Doctors said he had consumed a toxic level of alcohol.

He suffered for hours from severe head and abdominal injuries before his frat brothers called an ambulance the next morning. He died a day later, on Feb. 4, of injuries including a fractured skull and damaged spleen.

Defense lawyers say Piazza’s death was tragic but unforeseeable.


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