Grand jury indicts 8 former University of Missouri fraternity members

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:45 PM CDT
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BOONE COUNTY, Mo. (KCTV) - A Boone County grand jury indicted eight former members of a University of Missouri fraternity for a reported hazing incident that severely injured another student, leaving him blind and unable to walk.

In total, 11 former fraternity members are facing criminal charges in connection to the case.

Court documents state security footage shows that in the evening hours of Oct. 19, 2021, into the early morning hours of Oct. 20, approximately 35 males were shirtless, blindfolded and guided through the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house - also known as the Fiji house - as beer was poured on top of them, they were tripped and were hit with a box.

When the pledges emerged from the basement, police say surveillance showed several students had bottles of intoxicants taped to their hands. According to court records, during investigators’ review of video surveillance various pledge members were seen vomiting after excessive alcohol consumption during the 2021 fraternity event.

Each of the 11 former fraternity members are facing charges for their alleged role in what happened to Danny Santulli that night and early morning.

Attorney David Bianchi, who represented Santulli and his family in a civil case, said Santulli was expected to drink a bottle of vodka during the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity’s annual “Pledge Dad Reveal Night” in October of last year. Bianchi spoke with Minneapolis affiliate WCCO-TV in February.

“He can never be left alone. That’s the kind of care he is getting right now,” Bianchi said. “He is going to need rehabilitation care forever.”

Bianchi said that, instead of calling 911, video surveillance showed fraternity members picked up an unresponsive Santulli to drive him to the hospital. However, they dropped him on his head on their way to an exit door.

According to Bianchi, Santulli had to be revived by hospital staff and has permanent brain damage. A civil settlement was previously reached with 23 defendants.

People just need to stand up and say, ‘You know what, we are not going to stand for this anymore,’” Bianchi said in February. “This has got to stop.”

On Sept. 23 of this year, a grand jury indicted eight former fraternity members. Benjamin Parres, Benjamin Karl, Samuel Morrison, Harrison Reichman, Samuel Gandhi, John “Jack” O’Neill, Blake Morsovillo, Samuel Lane are each charged with the class D felony of hazing with life endangerment.

On June 17, 2021, two other former fraternity members - Thomas Shultz and Ryan Delanty - were indicted for the class D felony of hazing with life endangerment and supplying liquor to a minor. On June 2, 2021, Alec Wetzler was charged with misdemeanor supplying liquor to a minor and possession of alcohol by a minor.

According to a spokesperson for the University of Missouri, the university withdrew recognition of the Phi Gamma Delta chapter as a student organization. The Fiji house is now closed. Thirteen students received proposed disciplinary sanctions.

Click here to read the statement from the University of Missouri.