Pennsylvania

Parents of PSU frat pledge who died hope for less banter between attorneys

Parents of Penn State frat pledge who...

BELLEFONTE, Pa. - The decision on whether more than a dozen Penn State frat brothers will stand trial in the death of a pledge will have to wait a while.

Monday's preliminary hearing was put on-hold after a long day in court.

Afterwards, prosecutors blasted the behavior of defense attorneys saying they're taking the focus off the death of Timothy Piazza.

Sixteen defendants, all connected to Beta Theta Phi fraternity at Penn State, are all waiting to see if a judge will determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial in connection to the death of Piazza.

The Hunterdon County, New Jersey teen attended a pledge acceptance party participated in a ritual called the gauntlet and died hours later.

"We've got a lot more to go,” said Michael Engle, attorney for Gary Dibileo. “Obviously we haven't had any cross examination of the witness and we don't know what other witnesses are yet to come."

The first day of the preliminary hearing lasted close to 10 hours, but it was the back and forth between the 16 defense attorneys and the Centre County District Attorney, Stacy Parks Miller, that is drawing attention.

"It is absolutely insulting to the death of Tim Piazza for it to feel like a game in there," said Parks Miller.

There were numerous objections to a three-hour video that showed Piazza in apparent agony in the hours after falling down basement stairs.

There appeared to be laughing during breaks and then one attorney questioned the length of the hearing, calling it, "cruel and inhumane punishment."

"That's why people hate attorneys, that exact kind of behavior,” added Parks Miller. “And I have to say the decorum needs to raise in that courtroom. Maybe I look to myself too to not take the bait so much but it infuriates me."

The judge issued a continuance of the hearing and it will likely continue in a few weeks.

The family attorney for Piazza hopes there will be less banter between legal teams and getting back to seeing justice served.

"Their mission and their goal remains to change college campus life,” said Tom Kline. “So that what we witnessed in that basement and that grand hall never happens again."


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