Fraternity Trial Update
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Testimony just wrapped up for the day in the pre-trial hearing of 18 Penn State fraternity members charged in connection with the death of Timothy Piazza. The focus continues to be on how Piazza was either forced to drink excessively versus how much of that was pressure to fit in. With the 18 defendants here facing a variety of charges including manslaughter, hazing as you can imagine the defense attorneys are raising a host of legal issues. Prosecutors say Timothy Piazza died after an alcohol fueled hazing event on the Penn State campus back in February. The defense attorneys are focusing on how much alcohol Piazza drank that night, where he drank it and when he drank it. The lead prosecutor here is Centre County District Attorney Stacey Parks Miller. At one point she grew frustrated with the defense attorney questions and called all the defense attorneys "the peanut gallery". That caused an uproar in the courtroom. The judge and one of the other more seasoned lawyers lost his cool. I think the judge just kind of said take a chill pill and it worked. If you look at three days of preliminary hearing, the nonsense is really only five or ten minutes. The only prosecution witness remains the lead detective in the case. This morning he offered a damming assessment of the fraternity system talking about the fraternity bond. He got that from interviewing some of the pledges and other fraternity members. Saying some of those pledges he interviewed were literally in tears that they wanted to help police but didn't want to break the bond with getting fraternity members in trouble with the law. This hearing is expected to go at least another day.