Judge on Penn State fraternity hazing case replaced

Local News

The judge that was supposed to oversee Wednesday’s preliminary hearing for 12 former Beta Theta Pi brothers called off sick, so a new judge has taken over. 

Judge Steven Lachman took over for Carmine Prestia, but that did cause the state’s Attorney General’s Office to raise concerns. 

Former District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller filed a motion not to have Lachman on the case because she had concerns of him being impartial and favoring the brothers. 

Prosecutors agreed with her motion and asked for another judge to take over. 

President Judge Pamela Ruest decided to go ahead with Lachman because of trying to get the preliminary hearing underway. 

It was the first time for this set of former fraternity members to be in court. All of the brothers face charges that stem from recovered basement surveillance video. A total of 26 brothers are charged in connection to the death of Timothy Piazza. 

All but three of the 12 brothers charged waived their appearance in court. 

Most of the day was spent going over video that played a large role in the first round of preliminary hearings for other brothers charged. 

Prosecutors made sure to point out every time one of the brothers handed a pledge, under the age of 21, alcohol in the video. 

The Attorney General’s Office has decided not to pursue any aggravated assault, simple assault or involuntary manslaughter charges — which were filed by the previous district attorney. 

Prosecutors are pursuing hazing, furnishing alcohol to minors, and reckless endangerment charges.

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