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Judge drops manslaughter charges in Penn State frat death

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A judge threw out involuntary manslaughter and felony assault counts on Friday that were filed against Beta Theta Pi fraternity members in connection with a pledge's alcohol hazing-related death.

Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza,19, died following his first night of pledging Beta Theta Pi at Penn State University.

District Justice Allen Sinclair dropped the charges against four of the fraternity members. Now fourteen fraternity brothers are heading to trial, which could result in jail time, if the defendants are found guilty.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller had argued that the fraternity members pressured Piazza and other pledges to drink excessive amounts of alcohol. The fraternity was supposed to be an alcohol-free fraternity after they were suspended in 2008.

In security video from that night, Piazza appears to be intoxicated and was led to a couch after 11 p.m. After a few minutes, he fell head-first down a flight of basement stairs. His fraternity brothers carried him back up the steps and strapped on a loaded backpack to prevent him from rolling over and choking on vomit.

Authorities said Piazza had dangerous amount of alcohol in his system and suffered from severe head and abdominal injuries. He later died at a hospital.

District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said that she will refile the charges that were dropped against the members, including involuntary manslaughter, according to CNN.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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