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First Jail Sentences Handed Down in Penn State Fraternity Brother’s Death


More than two years after college student Tim Piazza died at Penn State Beta Theta Pi fraternity house, four of his fraternity brothers received their sentences for their roles in what happened. Luke Visser, Joseph Sala, Joshua Kurczewski, and Michael Bonattuci had already pleaded guilty to a variety of charges stemming from a tragic hazing incident in February 2017.

Prosecutors say Piazza, 19, drank heavily at a fraternity event and fell down a flight of stairs, only for fraternity brothers to allegedly wait 12 hours before alerting authorities. He died from brain injuries two days later on Feb. 4, 2017, and the fraternity was banned by the school the following month.

Visser was sentenced to two to six months in jail, with three years’ probation upon release; Kurczewski go three to nine months in jail and a year of probation; Bonatucci received a sentence of one to six months in jail and a year of probation; and Sala, the only one of the four not to get jail time, got three to 10 months of house arrest plus two years’ probation. ABC News reported that they will also have to pay fines and do community service.

“Today was a significant step forward in the long road to justice for the parents of Tim Piazza with the sentencing of three individuals to prison,” the Piazza family’s attorney Thomas Kline said in a statement.

Visser, Kurczewski, and Bonatucci are the first to get jail sentences for what happened.

Another member of the fraternity, Ryan Burke, pleaded guilty in June 2018 to four counts of hazing and five counts relating to unlawful acts involving liquor. He was sentenced to 30 months of probation. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office expects sentences for other defendants in the case later this year.

[Image via CBS screengrab]

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