Pa. AG Shapiro drops manslaughter, assault in Penn State frat death case

This Oct. 31, 2014, photo provided by Patrick Carns shows Timothy Piazza, (center), with his parents Evelyn and James Piazza, during Hunterdon Central Regional High School football's 'Senior Night' at the high school's stadium in Flemington, N.J. (Patrick Carns via AP)

This Oct. 31, 2014, photo provided by Patrick Carns shows Timothy Piazza, (center), with his parents Evelyn and James Piazza, during Hunterdon Central Regional High School football's 'Senior Night' at the high school's stadium in Flemington, N.J. (Patrick Carns via AP)

Prosecutors are dropping involuntary-manslaughter and assault charges against five Penn State University fraternity brothers in the death of a pledge who consumed a lot of alcohol, fell and suffered a fractured skull.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the decision Tuesday, a day before a preliminary hearing for 12 members of Beta Theta Pi in the death of Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey. The hearing is to determine whether there’s enough evidence to head toward trial on other allegations.

The set of 12 defendants due in court this week is separate from 14 fraternity members whose charges were previously sent to county court.

Piazza suffered severe injuries in falls inside the now-closed fraternity the night of a February 2017 pledge bid acceptance ceremony.

Defense attorney John Sughrue says the manslaughter and assault allegations are ridiculous.

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