Bellefonte, Centre County, Pa- Four former Beta Theta Pi brothers plead guilty today to actions stemming from the night of pledge Timothy Piazza’s death. Some also received their sentencing.
Wednesday’s guilty pleas eliminated the need for one of the trials scheduled in the Penn State fraternity hazing case.
With the four pleas there’s now a total of 13 former Beta Theta Pi brothers who have plead guilty, with 6 others who were accepted into the ARD program, which reduces their sentences.
All of the brothers in court Wednesday were not accused of directly providing alcohol to pledge Timothy Piazza.
But they did accept guilt for their actions towards other pledges.
The first brother to plead guilty and be sentenced today was 24-year-old Michael Fernandez . Police say Fernandez held up a wine bag for two pledges to drink from.
Before he was sentenced, the prosecution said as a former pledge master, Fernandez fostered a community of hazing at Beta Theta. He was evicted from the fraternity for hazing in the fall of 2015… over a year before Piazza’s death.
Fernandez said “I’m sorry…. I’m looking to move on from this…. it’s time for me to be an adult.”
20 year old Brian Gelb appeared next.
Before his sentencing the prosecution said that on the basement video from the night of Piazza’s death, Gelb was seen serving alcohol to more pledges than any other brother. He did not serve Piazza.
Gelb said he was sorry and was embarrassed to play a role that evening.
Before 23 year old Donald Prior’s sentencing, the prosecution pointed to police reports that Prior provided alcohol to a total of 3 pledges.
Prior apologized to the Penn State community and said he’s looking to move forward.
The fourth brother, not sentenced in Court Wednesday, was 20 year old Joseph Sala. Sala was the assistant pledge master the night of Piazza’s death
On bid acceptance night he led the pledges to the entrance of the house, sending them in one-by-one to begin the drinking stations for “the gauntlet”.