Reports: Niskayuna man faces new charge in Penn State hazing death

Braxton BeckerBraxton Becker

Steven Cook

Daily Gazette

NISKAYUNA — A Niskayuna man and Penn State college student is facing a new evidence-tampering charge in connection with a fraternity pledge’s death at the college.

Braxton Becker, 20, is accused of deleting a crucial video recorded in the basementof the fraternity.

Becker had previously been charged with evidence tampering, accused of telling another person to delete a text message thread about hosting a party with alcohol. That charge was dismissed in September. It was unclear if prosecutors were revisiting that count.

Becker now faces a total of three charges: tampering with physical evidence, obstructing administration of law and hindering apprehension, according to the prosecutor’s office.

In all, 17 fraternity members face new charges, including five for involuntary manslaughter. Charges against Becker are limited to the tampering, obstructing and hindering counts.

The original tampering charge was a misdemeanor, punishable in Pennsylvania by up to two years in prison. The Sept. 1 ruling, however, dismissed that count.

The September ruling focused on eight fraternity members who had been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with Timothy Piazza’s death.

The Pennsylvania prosecutor on Monday also re-filed cases against several others who were allegedly involved with Piazza’s death. Precise details were not immediately available.

Piazza died after he fell during an alcohol-fueled party, about 12 hours before a fraternity member called 911 to report his injuries, according to court documents.

In all, 18 members of the fraternity were initially charged in connection with the death. Five of the 18 faced only a single evidence-tampering count, Becker among them.