Grand jury indicts eight in MU fraternity hazing case
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A Boone County grand jury has indicted eight former fraternity brothers in an alleged hazing incident that left a University of Missouri freshman pledge unable to speak or walk.
Benjamin Parres, Benjamin Karl, Samuel Morrison, Harrison Reichman, Samuel Gandhi, John "Jack" O'Neill, Blake Morsovillo and Samuel Lane, were indicted Friday in the Danny Santulli hazing case.
Prosecutors charged those eight with felony hazing in July. Three others, Thomas Shultz, Ryan Delanty and Alec Wetzler, were charged in June.
Shultz appeared in court Monday.
In Missouri, grand jury hearings are secret and consist of 12 jurors who are looking to find out if a charge is appropriate.
"The evidence that the state has is then presented to the grand jury and they decide if there's enough evidence to go ahead with the case and to call an actual jury to determine guilt," said St Louis University law professor Anders Walker.
A vote of at least 12 jurors is needed for an indictment like the one that happened Monday. Following the indictment, the accused party is formally charged with a crime and a court arraignment is set.
The Oct. 21, 2021, hazing incident at Phi Gamma Delta left Santulli disabled. MU and the fraternity's national headquarters shut down the local chapter after the incident.
Shultz appeared by video Monday and several other former members of the fraternity have hearings scheduled this week. Attorneys on both sides told the judge Monday they were not ready to pick a trial date because of the pending deposition of an MU administrator.
At an August hearing, attorneys discussed a subpoena filed by Shultz's attorney, Brent Haden. The subpoena is for a deposition from MU Assistant Dean of Students Julie Drury regarding her communication with police, staff and media about the incident.
The university initially had 30 days to offer up Drury for a deposition, and in August the judge granted an extra 15 days. Attorneys said in court Monday they did not feel comfortable picking a trial date until after the deposition is completed.
Shultz is charged with felony hazing, felony evidence tampering and giving alcohol to a minor, a misdemeanor. His trial is expected to take place in Springfield after the judge granted a change of venue.
Another defendant, Alec Wetzler, is scheduled for a hearing at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Division XI Courtroom in the Boone County Courthouse.