Hazing News

Jonah Neuman, as Tim Piazza struggles for life: Neuman shoves [Beta Theta Pi brother] Davis into wall & tells him things are under control. Fellow pledge Qobi Quainoo uses Snapchat to take photo instead of calling 911.

Timeline into death of PSU Beta Theta Pi pledge Tim Piazza:  See all mentions of wrestler Jonah Neuman as another brother asks urgently for 911 intervention (Source PSU Collegian)


ARRAIGNMENT:10 brothers appeared in court Friday afternoon

Feb. 2, 2017

8:56 p.m.: Pledges filed into Beta Theta Pi’s great hall, which had the lights turned off. Three brothers — Pledge Master Daniel Casey, Chapter President Brendan Young and Ryan Burke — can be identified by a light source in the front of the room.

9:06 p.m.: Burke leads the pledges out of the great hall.

9:16 p.m.: Beta Theta Pi brothers send the first pledge through “the gauntlet,” a drinking-based obstacle course utilized in BTP’s hazing ritual.

9:21 p.m.: Timothy Piazza enters the gauntlet — Casey hands Piazza a handle of vodka, from which Piazza drinks heavily. Eight seconds later, Nicholas Kubera hands Piazza a beer, which Piazza shotguns.

10:31 p.m.: Pledges emerge from Beta Theta Pi’s basement and are visibly intoxicated.

10:40 p.m.: Beta Theta Pi brother Lars Kenyon assists Piazza, who was staggering and hunched over, to a couch in the great hall.

10:43 p.m.: Kubera encourages Piazza to stand up, and assists him in walking through the dining room and kitchen before returning to the living room. Piazza is visibly intoxicated during this endeavor.

10:45 p.m.: Piazza stands up, unassisted, and staggers toward the front door, which he fails to open. Piazza heads toward the basement steps, passing Jerry Coyne and Luke Visser on the way.

Time Unknown: Timothy Piazza falls down the basement steps. Cameras located in basement did not record on night in question, according to court documents.

10:47 p.m.: Piazza is carried back up the steps by Ryan Burke, Luke Visser, Greg Rizzo and Jonah Neuman. Piazza is limp and has a visible bruise on his abdomen. The brothers place Piazza on a couch. When Rizzo attempts to administer a sternum rub to Piazza, Piazza is unresponsive.

10:49 p.m.: Rizzo dumps liquid on Piazza’s face. Piazza does not respond. Following this Burke lifts Piazza’s arm, which immediately falls back to Piazza’s chest.

10:55 p.m.: Jonah Neuman retrieves a backpack, which he attaches to Piazza at 10:56 p.m.

11 p.m.: BTP brother Ryan Foster sits himself at Piazza’s feet in order to prevent Piazza from rolling over.

11:12 p.m.: Neuman also sits on Piazza’s legs to prevent him from moving.

11:14 p.m.: Kordel Davis, a newly initiated brother to Beta Theta Pi as of December 2016, enters the great hall. Davis approaches Piazza, leans over him and then turns to the other brothers in an animated fashion, pointing to his head and then to Piazza. When he testified, Davis told jurors he told the other brothers that Piazza needed to be taken to the hospital. Davis told jurors he screamed at the brothers, telling them they needed to get help.

11:15 p.m.: Neuman shoves Davis into a wall and tells him things are under control.

11:15 p.m.: Davis reiterates his concerns to Ed Gilmartin, the chapter’s vice president. In response, Gilmartin says Davis is crazy, claiming the other brothers have majors in kinesiology and biology.

11:25 p.m.: Daniel Casey, the pledge master, reenters the great hall to check on Timothy Piazza — he slaps Piazza three times in the face.

11:53 p.m.: Rizzo sends the following GroupMe message: “Also Tim Piazza might actually be a problem. He fell 15 feet down a flight of steps, hair-first, going to need help.”


Piazza charges announcement

Jim Piazza, father of Tim Piazza, speaks during the announcement of charges in his son’s death at the Centre County Courthouse Annex on Friday, May 5, 2017.

Linsey Fagan

Feb. 3, 2017

1 a.m.: Brothers in the room observe Piazza vomit and twitch on the couch. Piazza is surrounded by Ryan Foster, Jerry Coyne and Joseph Ems, who “backpack” Piazza to prevent him from rolling onto his back if he passes out.

1:48 a.m.: Piazza rolls onto the floor. Ems, Foster and Matt Reinmund pick Piazza back up and slam him onto the couch.1:50 a.m.: Ems strikes Piazza’s abdomen.

3:22 a.m.: Piazza attempts to regain his feet, and Coyne is nearby. Piazza falls backward and strikes his head on the hardwood floor — Coyne shakes him for movement, and then leaves the room.

3:54 a.m.: Piazza attempts to stand up again, but falls face first onto the floor.

4:59 a.m.: Piazza stands and staggers toward the lobby. Seconds later, he falls into an iron railing. He gets up again and attempts to go to the front door, but falls head first into the door.

5:08 a.m.: Piazza rests on his knees with his head buried in his hands. Then, he rolls to his side and clutches his abdomen.

5:15 a.m.: Beta Theta Pi brother Jonathan Martines walks downstairs for a drink of water, stepping over Piazza.

5:26 a.m.: Another BTP brother, Frederick Steimling, comes downstairs for water. He observes Piazza, and then walks Piazza to the great hall. Piazza falls down three steps. Steimling steps over Piazza and leaves him on the floor. Eventually Piazza makes it into the great hall.

6:44 a.m.: Beta Theta Pi pledge Qobi Quainoo enters the great hall — Piazza is on the floor.

6:57 a.m.: Quainoo uses SnapChat to film Piazza.

7:18 a.m.: Piazza stands up again and staggers toward the basement steps.

Approximately 10 a.m.: Daniel Erickson and Kyle Pecci search for Piazza — eventually, Erickson discovers him behind a bar. Erickson, Pecci and another brother then carry Piazza upstairs and place him on a couch in the great hall. Following this, brothers shook an unconscious Piazza. The brothers also covered Piazza with a blanket, wiped his face and attempted to dress him.

10:48 a.m.: Beta Theta Pi brother Ryan McCann dials 911. McCann never tells the dispatcher that Piazza fell down the stairs the previous night.

Feb. 4, 2017

1:23 a.m.: Timothy Piazza is pronounced dead at the Hershey Medical Center.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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