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AG Shapiro: Fraternity brother pleads guilty in hazing death of Penn State student

HARRISBURG  — One of the fraternity brothers charged in the 2017 hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza pleaded guilty to four counts of hazing and five counts relating to unlawful acts involving alcohol, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Wednesday.

Ryan Burke, 21, admitted his role in the hazing of Piazza, which included being present for and actively encouraging a gauntlet of drinking games and an obstacle course involving Piazza and other pledges, the Attorney General’s release states.

Burke was accused of pushing, serving and pouring drinks onto pledges as they ran through an obstacle course, according to the release. He was also accused of making underage pledges, including Piazza, drink from a bottle of vodka.

“Tim Piazza’s death was a terrible tragedy,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “Today marks the first guilty plea by a defendant in this case. My office is committed to seeking justice on behalf of Tim Piazza and his family and holding every responsible individual accountable for their actions, consistent with the law and evidence in this case.”

Burke’s guilty plea is the first in the case involving 26 defendants. His sentencing is scheduled for July 31.

The case was referred to Attorney General Shapiro in January 2018.