Family of Penn State pledge Timothy Piazza speaks out about his death

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Penn State pledge's family to file lawsuit over his death. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at Noon on May 15, 2017. (WPVI)

The family of Timothy Piazza, the 19-year-old Penn State University fraternity pledge who died after a night of alleged drinking and hazing, plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the university as well as fraternity members and the fraternity, Beta Theta Pi.

"I think the individuals involved clearly bear the most responsibility," father Jim Piazza told Good Morning America. "If you read the timeline of what happened, they set out to feed these guys lethal amounts of alcohol from the outset. There was intent there right from the beginning.

"They intended to bring these gentlemen to alcohol-poisoning levels right from the outset," he said. "At the end of the day, this was planned and orchestrated and I think they all need to be held accountable."

TIMELINE: Stunning details in Penn State frat death

Piazza, a sophomore and pledge at Penn State's Beta Theta Pi fraternity, died on Feb. 4 following a fall on the night of Feb. 2. Fraternity members did not call 911 until the morning of Feb. 3, about 12 hours after Piazza's fall, according to a report on the grand jury's investigation.

Piazza's death "was the direct result of traumatic brain injuries," according to the forensic pathologist, and 18 Penn State students are facing charges: eight for involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and hazing, among other charges; four for reckless endangerment and hazing, among other charges; and six for evidence tampering.

"I don't know where their conscience was, where the voice in the back of their head was saying, 'He's hurt. I gotta do the right thing,'" said Piazza's mother, Evelyn Piazza. "I don't understand how they could be so heartless and inhumane."
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Penn State frat 911 call: 'We have a friend who's unconscious.' Annie McCormick reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on May 8, 2017.

All the criminal defendants in the case have been preliminarily arraigned but none has entered a plea.

Related: Penn State frat brother: Pleas to call 911 for unconscious pledge were dismissed

Defense attorney William Brennan, whose client is facing one count of reckless endangerment, told ABC News last week, "I take this as seriously as if it were first-degree felony."

"The facts of this case are troubling and tragic and we'll do everything we can to defend this charge," he said. "I empathize with the family of the deceased, I empathize with the family of those who are charged.

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Penn State frat brother: Pleas to call 911 were dismissed. ABC News reports on May 7, 2017.

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