Former Penn State fraternity member guilty of hindering investigation
The Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte. (Min Xian/WPSU)
(Bellefonte) — A Centre County jury found Braxton Becker, the house manager of Penn State’s now-banned Beta Theta Pi fraternity, guilty on one of the three misdemeanor charges he faced on Thursday.
After five hours of deliberation, the jury rendered a verdict that Becker, a former Beta Theta Pi brother, was guilty of hindering apprehension and not guilty of tampering with evidence or obstructing justice.
To find Becker guilty of hindering, the jurors needed to believe that he concealed or destroyed evidence for a police investigation and that he did so intentionally, according to the guidance Judge Brian Marshall gave the jury.
Becker will be sentenced in August. He was accused of deleting security videos of the fraternity house basement, which documented hazing activities during the fraternity’s bid acceptance event in February 2017.
Braxton Becker, left, left the Centre County Courthouse during the first day of the jury trial on his alleged deletion of security footage in relation to the case of the hazing death of Tim Piazza in 2017. (Min Xian/WPSU)
Penn State student and pledge Tim Piazza suffered fatal injuries at the alcohol-fueled party. His death resulted in a rewrite of the state’s antihazing law and a series of criminal cases that implicated more than two dozen former fraternity brothers.
This was the first jury trial in relation to Piazza’s death. Two other former Beta Theta Pi brothers are expected to go to trial, although it’s unclear when that will happen. Others have pleaded guilty to hazing-related charges in the case.