READINGTON — The father of Timothy Piazza is recalling the strange juxtaposition of a conversation he was having with a Rutgers University student about hazing on the very morning that, unbeknownst yet to him, his 19-year-old son lay dying on the basement floor of a Penn State University fraternity house.

"That young man was sent to me that morning to tell me my son was dying," James Piazza said in an interview with NJ Advance Media, published Monday on "I told him (after Timothy's death) 'I feel connected to you' ... He said, 'I wasn't sure I believed in God before, but I believe in Him now.'"

The elder Piazza's conversation with the Rutgers student on Friday, Feb. 3 shifted from its initial subject of career advice to campus life, the report said. The student, who had pledged a fraternity himself last fall, indicated the reputation of Greek life at Penn State was well-known even on other campuses, saying "they haze pretty hard" and that people died from the hazing, the report said.

James Piazza told that his son "would not have lasted" in Beta Theta Pi, and had the teen known how its members behaved, he might not have continued pledging.

Even as the Timothy J. Piazza Memorial Foundation begins to collect money to honor its namesake's memory and career aspirations, the Piazzas said in the report that the school at which their son spent his final conscious moments still has not done enough to combat hazing.

Last month, 18 students were criminally charged in connection with Timothy's death, including eight accused of involuntary manslaughter.

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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