A detective testified in court Monday that a 19-year-old Penn State student who died after an alleged fraternity hazing ritual “looked like a corpse” in surveillance video from the house on the night he was found.
Detective David Scicchitano spoke at a preliminary hearing Monday that will determine whether there is enough evidence to send the case to trial.
Eighteen Penn State students are facing charges in connection with the death of Timothy Piazza, ranging from involuntary manslaughter to reckless endangerment.
“He looked dead, he looked like a corpse,” said State College Police Detective David Scicchitano.
Piazza was clearly drunk in the recorded video and was reportedly wobbling and appeared more intoxicated than others at the party.
The video showed Piazza’s frat brothers carrying him upstairs on the morning after the pledge event on February 2, according to reports. It was played in open court.
“He is unconscious, his eyes are closed, [and] he is limp," Scicchitano testified. "He is dead weight."
Piazza consumed several types of alcohol during a short period of time on that night and fell down a flight of basement steps, according to authorities.
After being put on a couch, different members tried to rouse him by slapping him in the face and pouring liquids on him, one fraternity brother even punched him in the abdomen, according to a grand jury.
Members of the fraternity waited 48 hours before calling police.
Piazza had "lost all color" at that point, Scicchitano said. Piazza was finally hospitalized on February 3 and died the next day from a traumatic brain injury and severe abdominal bleeding.
Piazza’s blood-alcohol level was also dangerously high.
Prosecutors say the fraternity brothers waited to call authorities in an attempt to cover up their drinking and “coordinate a story."
“This wasn’t boys being boys,” Jim Piazza, the boy’s father, initially told CBS News. “This was [the] murder of our son. They tortured him for 12 hours. They let him suffer for 12 hours. He died a slow and painful death at the hands of these ‘men of principal,’ as they call it."
The Piazza family is also reportedly planning on filing a lawsuit against fraternity members and the university.
Earlier this month, Penn State announced proposals for new safety reforms, including: University staff members monitoring social events; the university taking control of the fraternity and sorority misconduct and adjudication process; and permanent revocation of university recognition for any chapter involved in "hazing that involves alcohol, physical abuse, or any behavior that puts a student’s mental or physical health at risk,” according to ABC News.
The Beta Theta Pi fraternity has been permanently banned from the university following Piazza’s death.