Former Penn State fraternity member pleads guilty to nine charges in Tim Piazza hazing death

The first guilty plea has been entered in connection with the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza.

Ryan Burke, 21, pleaded guilty to nine remaining charges, including four hazing misdemeanors. Other charges had previously been tossed.

Piazza was 19 when he drank a dangerous amount of alcohol and suffered fatal injuries in a series of falls last year on the Pennsylvania campus. Members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity waited too long and took half-hearted steps to call for help, according to prosecutors.

Burke was accused of giving Piazza a bottle of vodka at the party.

"There are too few words to describe a loss so great. This young man understands that," Burke's lawyer Philip Masorti said. "This is a tragedy, and he is anxious to make amends."

Twenty-five others still face charges relating to the death of Piazza, who grew up in Lebanon, N.J. A magistrate has previously thrown out the most serious charges, involuntary manslaughter, against five defendants.

"We are pleased to see one individual accept responsibility and encourage others to follow in his steps," Piazza family lawyer Tom Kline said.

Burke will be sentenced on July 31.

  • With News Wire Services