On Wednesday, a former member of Penn State University’s Beta Theta Pi chapter, pled guilty to charges stemming from the death of 19-year-old Timothy Piazza following a hazing ritual in February 2017.
21-year-old Ryan Burke pled guilty to nine misdemeanor charges—four counts of hazing and five counts involving unlawful acts related to alcoholic beverages, the New York Times reports.
Piazza’s death occurred after a hazing ritual where he was instructed to binge-drink (prosectors say he was served 18 drinks of an 82-minute periods), then fell multiple times, suffering head and abdominal injuries that proved fatal. Prosecutors accused Burke of ordering Piazza to drink from a bottle of vodka, but he is by no means the only one. Though he is the first defendant to enter a guilty plea, 25 other defendants have maintained not-guilty pleas to charges related to Piazza’s death and are waiting to go to trial.
The Associated Press reported that Burke’s attorney, Philip Masorti, told journalists outside the courthouse on Wednesday, “There are too few words to describe a loss so great. This young man understands that. This is a tragedy, and he is anxious to make amends.”
Burke’s sentencing date has been set for July 31.