BELLEFONTE -- Tim Bream’s name has been mentioned plenty of times in the Centre County Courthouse, and on Wednesday the Penn State head football trainer finally made an appearance.
And while defense attorneys for the former Beta Theta Pi brothers being charged in Timothy Piazza’s death had plenty of questions for Bream, issue arose when discussing whether these questions were actually appropriate to ask.
After some debate, Judge Allen Sinclair agreed that Bream could only be questioned about what he knew and did that night, not about any personal opinions on what the brothers being charged knew or thought.
In addition to being an employee of Penn State, Bream was also the house manager of Beta Theta Pi. Bream described this role as being one of “guidance,” clarifying that he was not an “overlord or overseer” at the house.
Leonard Ambrose, the attorney representing former brother Joseph Sala, laid out his arguments while Bream was in a separate room. During these arguments, Ambrose said Bream’s main responsibility was to “make sure the house was safe” for the residents and make sure the house’s conduct met Interfraternity Council standards.
Ambrose said Bream’s behavior on Feb. 2 made the brothers think drinking was “permissible.”
While on the stand, Bream — who said he had weekly meetings with Beta Theta Pi executives — said he knew the fraternity was applying to hold a social with Trilogy, but didn’t know alcohol would be at the event. Additionally, Bream said he wasn’t aware of any rush events that took place, such as a “Four Loko event” and a “crate race.”
“I don’t even know what a crate race or a Four Loko is,” Bream testified.
Later, Bream said he would “not give permission to alcohol abuse” or the drinking gauntlet, which was used as part of bid acceptance night.
Bream’s role in the alleged “coverup” of Piazza’s accident was also brought into question. The Commonwealth has exhibits that show Ed Gilmartin and Lars Kenyon, two former Beta Theta Pi members, saying that a “Tim” advised them to delete group messages after the incident.”
“That’s part of a coverup…in order to be part of a coverup you have to be aware something wrong occurred,” Ambrose said, adding that Bream “encouraged young men to destroy evidence.”
District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller referred to the line of questioning as a “red herring.”
“[Bream] wasn’t present,” Parks Miller said. “There’s no evidence he was there or he participated in any way.”
When Ambrose continued the line of questioning, Parks Miller said Bream was being accused and advised that his 5th Amendment rights be read.
Bream testified that he did not recall talking to Gilmartin after hearing about Piazza’s death, but did say he called Penn State’s Counseling and Psychological Services to call in grief counselers for the fraternity members.
“We talked about staying off of social media out of respect to Piazza and his family…that’s what was discussed at that time,” Bream said.
Bream was also briefly examined by pledge master Daniel Casey’s lawyer Stephen Trialonas.
Arguments were also made by the lawyer representing Brendan Young’s lawyer Frank Fina the Beta Theta Pi corporation’s lawyer Michael Leahey. Fina argued the definition of “reckless” and Young’s knowledge of Piazza’s state on the night of Feb. 2.
This prompted an impassioned testimony from Parks Miller, asserted that “without the hazing Piazza would be alive.” She also referenced “brutish methods” brothers used to try and “keep people from dying.”
“Each of the people sitting here played a role,” Parks Miller said, gesturing to the former brothers present. “Or else they wouldn’t be sitting here.”
Parks Miller continued to take down they idea of “voluntary” hazing, saying there “was no such thing as being able to consent to hazing.”
“And Piazza didn’t consent to dying,” she added.