One year after Phi Gamma Delta hazing incident that left freshman disabled, legal battle continues
COLUMBIA, MO (KMIZ)
It’s been almost a year since the Phi Gamma Delta hazing incident at the University of Missouri that left a deactivated recognizance, leading to 11 fraternity brothers charged with crimes.
A quiet autumn night last year, October 20, 2021, took a turn as hundreds of students gathered outside the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity shouting and chanting.
News broke of the tragic events that left a freshman unresponsive and in hospital. That freshman is Danny Santulli, who was unable to walk, talk or see after being forced to drink an entire bottle of vodka.
Santulli was hospitalized with a blood alcohol level over five times the legal limit and suffered cardiac arrest at the fraternity’s “Pledge Father Reveal” party.
Surveillance video shows members of the fraternity funneling beer into Danny’s mouth. The video also shows Danny collapsing around 11 a.m. that night and then being carried to another room. Nearly two hours later, the brothers realize something is wrong and take Danny to the hospital at one point dropping him on the floor.
The fraternity was expelled from the MU campus and its national organization after the incident.
The Santulli family sued 23 members of the fraternity and quickly settled with all 23. On September 8, the family sued 2 more members.
A Boone County prosecutor has charged 11 boys with criminal hazing. One of the boys, Thomas Shultz, is also charged with tampering with evidence and supplying alcohol to a minor.
On September 26, a Boone County grand jury found enough evidence to send eight of the boys to trial.
Samuel Gandhi, Thomas Shultz, Alec Wetzler and Blake Morsovillo pleaded not guilty and John O’Neil obtained a change of judge.
Santulli, after undergoing rehab in Colorado, is currently back with his family in Minnesota who need round-the-clock care.
O’Neill, Gandhi, Samuel Lane, Shults, Harrison Reichman and Benjamin Parres have hearings scheduled for this month and next month.
No trial date has been set as the lawyers are waiting for a deposition to be made to the University.