A detective testifying at a hearing for 18 Penn State fraternity brothers accused in the death of a 19-year-old pledge said Monday the student looked like a corpse in surveillance video from the frat house. "He looked dead, he looked like a corpse," said State College Police Detective David Scicchitano, describing sophomore Tim Piazza's appearance in footage showing frat brothers carrying him upstairs the morning after a pledge event that involved heavy drinking, reports the AP. Scicchitano spoke at preliminary hearing at a courthouse near campus that will determine if there's enough evidence to send the case to court for trial. Video shot inside the Beta Theta Pi house was being shown from the night the pledge was ordered to drink and then fatally injured in a series of falls. The Post-Gazette notes that this is the first time prosecutors showed the video.
Piazza consumed what prosecutors said was a life-threatening amount of alcohol during a hazing ritual on Feb. 2 and he died two days later. Fraternity members didn't call 911 until nearly 12 hours after his first fall. Piazza's father, Jim, rocked back and forth quietly in the front row of the courtroom as he heard his son's final hours described. When the video started, he and his wife Evelyn left the courtroom. "The grand jury presentment released last month had described what was on the video in detail, but still it was no match for the actual footage," the Post-Gazette notes. The defendants face a variety of charges, with some accused of involuntary manslaughter and felony aggravated assault. Piazza died at a hospital Feb. 4 from traumatic brain injury and had suffered severe abdominal bleeding. His blood-alcohol measured at a dangerous level. Penn State has permanently banned the fraternity, saying the school found "a persistent pattern" of excess drinking, drug use, and hazing.