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Ex-Penn State frat member pleads guilty in Tim Piazza hazing case

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Courtesy of Piazza Family(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) — A former Penn State fraternity brother has entered the first guilty plea in connection with the death of pledge Tim Piazza, who died after falling down fraternity house stairs during an alcohol-fueled hazing ritual, prosecutors said.

Ryan Burke, who was accused of forcing Piazza to drink from a bottle of vodka the night of his fall, pleaded guilty Wednesday to four counts of hazing and five counts relating to unlawful acts involving liquor, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office said.

Burke, now 21, admitted to his role in the hazing and will be sentenced on July 31, according to prosecutors.

“This is a tragedy and he is anxious to make amends,” Burke’s attorney Philip Masorti said Wednesday, according to the Bridgewater Courier News. “There are too few words to describe a loss so great. This young man understands that.”

Piazza family attorney Tom Kline told ABC News, “We are pleased to see one individual accept responsibility and encourage others to follow in his steps.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro added that his “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 the evidence in this case.”

Twenty-five others face charges in the case which stemmed from Piazza’s February 2017 death.

On the night of Feb. 2, 2017, after taking part in a hazing ritual known as the “Gauntlet,” a heavily intoxicated Piazza was heard falling down the stairs at the Beta Theta Pi house, and later found lying face down at the bottom.

Fraternity members carried him upstairs and put him on a couch, where they dumped water on his face and slapped him in an apparent attempt to wake him, to no avail, according to a grand jury report which cited evidence including surveillance video, witness testimony and phone records. When one pledge tried to intervene, insisting they get Piazza some help, the pledge was shoved into a wall and was told that the brothers had it under control, according to the grand jury report.

As the night went on, Piazza, a 19-year-old sophomore, tried over and over to stand on his own, falling each time and eventually going still, according to the grand jury report.

No one called 911 until the next morning, when his breathing was labored and his skin had turned gray.

Prosecutors have claimed the brothers waited to get Piazza help in an attempt to cover up their drinking and “coordinate a story.”

Piazza died on Feb. 4 of traumatic brain injuries.

Beta Theta Pi has since been barred from Penn State.

Since Piazza’s death, his parents Jim and Evelyn Piazza have channeled their grief into fighting for the safety of future college students.

“We believe that there needs to be stiffer criminal penalties against hazing,” Jim Piazza told ABC News last year. “Nobody is trying to kill Greek life — we’re just trying to make it safer.”

“We’re both of the mindset — Tim would not want us to fade away and just continually grieve,” he added. “Trying to make a difference for others, I think, is somewhat therapeutic.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


Mother distracts armed robber with a taco as she went to ask for help

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Los Angeles County Sheriff(LOS ANGELES) — A taco helped saved a family of six and put a man behind bars on Sunday in Industry, California, authorities said.

The family was heading back from a day at a waterpark when they pulled over to get carne asada tacos before the ride home, a statement on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page said.

Juan Rodriguez, rding a bike, approached the family while they were eating their tacos and “began to intimidate and terrorize both parents and their four children,” the statement read. “He began flashing a gun, that was concealed in his waist band, showed them a badge and told them he was an undercover cop,” the statement continued.

The mother knew something wasn’t right. So what did she do? She offered him a taco. She offered to get him napkins from the taco truck. As she walked away, the man kept showing his gun and went through the mother’s purse.

Once at the taco truck, the mother saw the line of people waiting to order and told them what was going on.

“She asked them not look back towards her family’s van and asked them to please call 911 or help her,” the statement read.

As police responded, Rodriguez allegedly threw his gun into the family’s van and tried to climb inside, the sheriff’s department said.

Rodriguez faces several felony charges, including child endangerment, impersonating a peace officer, and outstanding warrants, according to the statement.

None of the family members were injured.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Donald Glover on list of "Most Powerful People in Comedy"

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By Stephen Iervolino

ABC/Paula Lobo(LOS ANGELES) — Kevin Hart, Donald Glover, and Tiffany Haddish are among the stars on The Hollywood Reporters first list of “The Most Powerful People in Comedy.”

The publication hails Haddish as “Hollywood’s new comedy queen.”

The list also includes Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Issa Rae, and The Daily Show host, Trevor Noah.

In the category of producer/writers, Kenya Barris, creator of black-ish and grown-ish, is recognized, along with Will Packer, whose credits include the successful Think Like A Man films, the Ride Along movies, and Girls Trip.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Entertainment News


"Happens Like That": Granger Smith makes a Monday date with both "The Bachelorette" and Jimmy Kimmel

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By Music News Group

ABC/Image Group LA You’ll have plenty of chances to see Granger Smith Monday night on ABC.

Not only will the Texan serenade current Bachelorette Becca Kufrin in prime time, but he’ll also return to the network later that same night for an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Granger will do his latest hit, “Happens Like That,” during a one-on-one date on The Bachelorette, which starts at 8 p.m. ET. He’ll play his new single, “You’re In It,” later Monday night during his visit with Jimmy Kimmel.

It’s Granger’s second appearance on the show’s outdoor stage in Los Angeles. You can watch for him starting at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Country Music News


Hot, dry conditions help fuel fast-moving wildfires in the West

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — Hot and dry conditions are helping fuel fast-moving wildfires blazing throughout the West.

As of Wednesday afternoon there were 43 large fires burning in 12 states throughout the country: Alaska, Washington, California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida.

In Utah and Colorado, winds could reach 40 mph Wednesday afternoon and evening, and coupled with the dry fuel and low humidity, the danger for fire is heightened.

The dangerous fires have prompted some evacuations from southern California to Colorado.

In Colorado, massive wildfires displaced thousands of people and destroyed tens of thousands of acres, while in Beverly Hills some residents were forced to flee their homes Tuesday as flames erupted and threatened million dollar mansions.

Excessive Heat Warnings and Red Flag Warnings remain in effect Wednesday for five states in the Southwest: Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

Temperatures will remain dangerously hot yet for cities like Palm Springs, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, where temperatures could reach 110 degrees.

Bud weakening

Bud, which began as a hurricane, weakened to a tropical storm Wednesday morning, and continues to weaken.

On Wednesday afternoon, the storm was churning up 50 mph winds about 215 miles from Cabo San Lucas.

Bud is expected to continue weakening as it approaches Cabo San Lucas on Thursday. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect there for gusty winds, heavy rain, flash flooding and dangerous surf.

The storm is forecast to fall apart on Friday, but it will bring some rain to the Southwest states by the weekend — surely to be a welcome relief from the heat and fires.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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