Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Who are the Penn State students facing manslaughter charges?

They went to State College thinking they'd take on the world. Now their future -- and their freedom -- is in doubt.

Some are from as far away as California, barely removed from being baby-faced high schoolers, while others are local products who thought they were getting ready to go off and conquer the world.

But the eight Pennsylvania State University students are all in the same boat now, lost in what will likely be harsh, uncertain waters for months -- if not years -- to come.

Beta Theta Pi fraternity members Brendan Young, Daniel Casey, Gary DiBileo, Luke Visser, Nick Kubera, Jonah Neuman, Joe Sala, and Michael Bonatucci were all charged with involuntary manslaughter on Friday as Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announced the findings of a grand jury investigation into the Feb. 3 death of 19-year-old fraternity pledge Tim Piazza.

Students charged with manslaughter in death at Penn State at fraternity

They're facing an assortment of other charges, including felony aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, and hazing. Ten other members of the fraternity, which was disbanded in the wake of the controversy surrounding Piazza's death, face lesser charges.

According to authorities, the fraternity brothers waited too long to seek medical treatment for Piazza, who suffered multiple falls after consuming a lethal amount of alcohol, and then seemed primarily concerned with their potential culpability after realizing the seriousness of his injuries.

But a closer look at the lives of the eight students offers few hints of the selfishness and stupidity that is depicted in the grand jury report.

Young, the president of Beta Theta Pi chapter and a Malvern resident, describes himself on LinkedIn as a junior who is majoring in enterprise risk management and finance.

According to the account, he is going to be a summer intern at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in an operations analyst development program, and briefly served as a member of a Navy ROTC program in State College. On Twitter, his biographical information is limited to one line: "It pays to be a winner."

Reached by phone on Friday, Young's mother declined to comment.

Casey, the fraternity's pledge master, is from Ronkonkoma, a hamlet on Long Island. He graduated from Connetquot High School in 2015. His family didn't respond to a voice message, and his Facebook account -- which featured a sweeping photo from inside the iconic Beaver Stadium -- was deleted hours after the criminal charges were filed.

DiBileo is the namesake son of a prominent Penn State graduate, Lackawanna County Controller Gary DiBileo Sr., a successful Scranton businessman for nearly 30 years.

The grand jury presentment showed Young once hassled DiBileo through a series of text messages, after DiBileo threatened to drop out as a fraternity pledge in September 2016. "Bad idea," Young wrote. "Talk to me in the morning. ... Alcohol creates blurry lines."

DiBileo Sr. could not be reached for comment.

Visser, of Encinitas, Calif., describes himself on Facebook as a 2016 graduate of La Costa Canyon High School and a valet at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort. His account features a photograph of a young, blond man -- presumably Visser -- with his arms around the waists of two women who appear to be cheerleaders for the University of California, Los Angeles. A comment beneath the photo reads: "Visser is a ... stud."

Kubera graduated from high school in Downingtown last year. In December, he posted an Instagram photo from Beta Theta Pi with 29 young men and the caption "29 degenerates." Facebook photos from last year show Kubera standing on a roof deck with the Philadelphia skyline behind him. His family declined to comment Friday.

Neuman, a Nashville native, graduated in 2015 from Battle Ground Academy, a private college prep school. He is an intramural wrestler at Penn State, and was a medalist in a state wrestling championship while in high school in 2014.

Sala, reached by phone in his Erie home, said he had no comment, citing the "ongoing investigation." Relatives of Bonatucci's, a native of Woodstock, Ga., could not be reached for comment.