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Penn State Frat Member Avoids Jail Time Over Hazing Death

Ryan Burke was sentenced three months of house arrest, 27 months of probation, was fined more than $3,000 and ordered 100 hours of community service.

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The first member of a Penn State fraternity was sentenced today in connection to the death of a pledge, however, he will not face any jail time.

Centre County Judge Brian Marshall gave Burke three months of house arrest, 27 months of probation, fined him more than $3,000 and ordered 100 hours of community service.

Fraternity member, Ryan Burke had pleaded guilty to four counts of hazing and five alcohol violations after the death of Tim Piazza, in February 2017 after a night of drinking and hazing in the Beta Theta Pi house.

On Feb. 2, 2017, after taking part in a hazing ritual known as the “Gauntlet,” a heavily intoxicated Piazza was heard falling down the stairs at the Beta Theta Pi house, and later found lying face down at the bottom of the stairs. A ball cap-wearing Burke was identified with a bottle of 80-proof vodka, as Burke seemed nonchalant about Piazza’s medical condition after he endured a bad fall down the basement steps.

One pledge tried to intervene, insisting they get Piazza some help, however, the pledge was shoved into a wall and was told that the brothers had it under control, according to the grand jury reports.

Burke’s attorney, Philip Masorti, stated “This was an accident that nobody wanted to happen,” he told the judge. “It led to a tragic death.”

 

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Erin Whitten is currently CMN's Senior Correspondent and is currently a student at Arizona State University majoring in Mass Communications and Media Studies.

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