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The Latest: Frat members push back in pledge death case

Posted July 11

FILE – In this April 4, 2017, file photo, Penn State's former Beta Theta Pi fraternity house on Burrowes Road sits empty after being shut down in State College, Pa. A preliminary hearing is set to resume Monday, July 10, for Beta Theta Pi fraternity members who are facing charges in connection with the February death of a pledge after a night of drinking. (Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times via AP, File)

— The Latest on a preliminary hearing for Penn State fraternity members accused in a pledge's death (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

Lawyers for Penn State fraternity members accused in the death of a pledge are trying to chip away at the prosecution's case, hoping to get some or all of the charges dismissed before trial.

A preliminary hearing in the case against 18 brothers and the now-shuttered Beta Theta Pi chapter finished its third day of testimony Tuesday, with two more sessions tentatively scheduled for next month.

The first witness, the lead detective in the February death of sophomore engineering student Tim Piazza, is still on the stand.

Defense attorneys have been trying to show their clients weren't participants in some of the events that preceded Piazza's death.

During an earlier session, the judge was shown surveillance video from the night of Feb. 2, when Piazza ingested large amounts of alcohol and then was injured in a series of falls.

The chapter and some of the defendants are accused of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. Others face less serious allegations. Two defendants waived the hearing.

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12:20 p.m.

A police detective is on the stand for a third day in a preliminary hearing for a Penn State fraternity and 16 members accused in the death of a pledge.

State College Police Detective Dave Scicchitano (SHICK-it-awn-oh) is being cross-examined by defense attorneys Tuesday in a hearing to determine if there's enough evidence to send the case to county court for trial.

Lawyers for members of now-shuttered Beta Theta Pi are asking Scicchitano about his investigation into the February death of Tim Piazza after a night of heavy drinking.

The fraternity and some of the members are accused of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, while others face less serious charges.

Piazza, a resident of Lebanon, New Jersey, ingested a dangerous amount of alcohol and was injured in a series of falls.

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12:30 a.m.

Members of a shuttered Penn State fraternity are due back in court for a preliminary hearing on charges related to the death of a pledge after a night of heavy drinking.

A Pennsylvania judge will convene for the third day of a preliminary hearing on Tuesday for the Beta Theta Pi chapter and 16 of its members. Two others have waived the hearing.

Some face involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges in the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey. Others face less serious charges, including evidence tampering and hazing.

Piazza was severely injured at the house in February, a night captured on security video. Help wasn't called until the next morning.

The judge will decide if there's enough evidence to send the case to trial..

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