Judge tosses major charges in alleged Penn State hazing death
In a stunning decision, a Pennsylvania judge threw out involuntary manslaughter and felony aggravated assault charges against members of a Penn State fraternity – one of whom is from Long Island – in the death of sophomore pledge Tim Piazza.
The judge ordered 12 of the frat brothers, including Daniel Casey, of Ronkonkoma, to stand trial on lesser charges.
News 12 has reported that 19-year-old Piazza died in February after pledge party where he was allegedly hazed. Prosecutors say Piazza repeatedly fell down a flight of stairs and the frat brothers didn't call for help until 12 hours later.
Casey, 20, was the pledge master at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He faces five charges – including reckless endangerment, hazing, furnishing alcohol to minors, unlawful acts relative to liquor and tampering with evidence.
News 12 attempted to speak with Casey about the allegations, but no one answered the door at his Ronkonkoma home.
Neighbor Jacob McAlonus says Casey was a good kid – a leader on the block -- who taught kids right from wrong. McAlonus says the charges against Casey and the other frat members are disturbing.
"He knew what is right, what is wrong at that age and decided to let it go. He should pay the full consequences," says McAlonus.
The prosecutor in the case says the state will appeal the judge's decision to dismiss involuntary manslaughter and felony assault charges.