PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New charges have been filed against Penn State fraternity brothers after deleted video was recovered following the death of a pledge.
Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announced Monday more than 100 new charges against the fraternity brothers in the death of 19-year-old Timothy Piazza, including five defendants charged with manslaughter.
In February, Piazza died from injuries he sustained during multiple falls at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house during a party.
Footage related to a Penn State student’s death that was once lost has now been recovered. The video is paramount in the prosecution of this case.
Police recovered video from every surveillance camera in the house, with the exception of the basement video.
Initially, that camera was said to have been broken, but Centre County Prosecutor Stacy Parks Miller says it was deleted.
Investigators sent the entire system to the FBI for analysis and the deleted video was recovered.
“The video was, in fact, recovered and was, in fact, brought back to life,” said Parks Miller.
The district attorney says that Piazza was given at least 18 drinks in the span of one hour and 22 minutes.
“Mr. Piazza … never once obtained any of those drinks for himself, brothers were coming up to him and giving him those drinks, including in the basement,” said Parks Miller.
“Coercing someone to drink seven to eight drinks in 12 minutes, or close to 20 drinks in a matter of 90 minutes, is egregiously reckless,” said Jim Piazza, the father of Timothy Piazza.
Those charged include Braxton Becker, who investigators say purposefully deleted the surveillance video when police came to the home to collect it.
“While they were there to get the video from the fraternity brothers, a series of commands, deliberate commands, were entered into the system. It was manually deleted through certain menus,” said Parks Miller.
A total of 28 fraternity brothers are facing charges in the case after the district attorney charged 12 more. Five of the original defendants also face new charges.
“This is a stunning and major development. It will change the course of the entire prosecution,” said attorney Tom Klein, who is representing the Piazza family.
Klein says this newly recovered evidence will hopefully, one day, bring closure for Piazza’s parents.
“The Piazza family has always asked for nothing more than for full accountability. Every person who has done their son wrong be held accountable fully,” said Klein.
The district attorney did not release any of the newly recovered surveillance video.
In September, a judge threw out the most serious charges of involuntary manslaughter and felony aggravated assault against eight of the defendants.