Bellefonte, Centre County, PA- Tuesday, one of the final former Penn State Beta Theta Pi Brothers tied to the fraternity hazing case was sentenced in the Centre County Annex Courthouse.
20-year-old Jonathan Kanzler from Coopersburg, PA, was sentenced to six months probation and $3,500 in fines. This sentence, from Judge Brian Marshall, comes after Kanzler pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts of furnishing alcohol to minors. Kanzler, in May 2018, also faced two counts of hazing, but those charges were dropped when he pled guilty.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office did not seek restitution from Kanzler (to pay to the family of former pledge Timothy Piazza).
Additionally, Judge Marshall did not order Kanzler to give community service, citing that the 140 hours of service Kanzler completed on his own was sufficient. Also, unlike many brothers previously sentenced, the state AG did not ask for a no contact provision in Kanzler’s sentence.
Before Kanzler was sentenced, family friends, along with Kanzler’s mother, Kathy, gave statements speaking toward how they feel he’s taken responsibility for his actions, and is doing his best to make put his best foot forward.
Kathy Kanzler said since Tim’s death, her son has re-dedicated himself towards moving forward to be someone who can help people in need… she added with that, “he is different than the other brothers.”
She then paused at the podium before saying, “It’s selfish for me to be up here and talk about heartbreak,” compared to what the Piazzas experience.
Kanzler himself then spoke in court saying, “I am sorry for the pain the Piazza’s are going through.”
He added: “As a young student, I wanted to have social inclusion, and only now do I realize the importance of acting as an individual… I am ashamed of my actions on the night of Tim’s death, most of all serving him alcohol and not realizing he needed help before leaving the party…. I will think about my actions that night for the rest of my life.”
Judge Marshall said that in comparison to other defendants in the case, Kanzler expressed “great remorse, maybe more than others.”
After additional basement video of bid acceptance night at the PSU Beta Theta Pi house was recovered, Kanzler was shown holding up a bag of wine for Piazza and another pledge to drink from at the “after party” following pledge initiation, which included drinking stations known as “the gauntlet.”
Kanzler is currently a certified EMT and spent the aforementioned volunteer hours with an EMS provider at Lehigh University, where he is currently a student studying accounting.
Kanzler’s lawyer, Brian McMonagle, said Kanzler will be a resident assistant (RA) this upcoming fall semester.
Inside the courtroom, McMonagle said Kanzler considered Piazza a brother and a friend. The attorney’s final words before his client’s sentencing were, “We’re all responsible for Tim Piazza’s death one way or another. Hopefully we can take a step back and fix this.”
How many former brothers remain without a sentence/ruling?
The fraternity’s former president Brendan Young and pledge master Daniel Casey will head to trial.
Unlike all the other former brothers in this case, Young and Casey face charges of recklessly endangering another person, in addition to hazing and furnishing alcohol to minors.
The case for Young and Casey is currently on hold, pending an appeal to Superior Court in PA.
Former Beta Theta Pi house manager, Braxton Becker, accused of deleting the basement video footage from the house’s surveillance system, was found guilty of hindering apprehension, but not guilty of tampering and obstruction. Becker’s sentencing is scheduled for August, 20.