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First trial date set in Columbia fraternity hazing case


The first trial date has been set against the defendants accused in connection with a University of Missouri fraternity pledge's alcohol poisoning in October 2021.

"It's been a year and a half since this happened to Danny Santulli," David Bianchi the Santulli family lawyer said.

This week, a date was set for Ryan Delanty's trial, about 10 months since charges of felony hazing and supplying liquor to a minor against him were filed in June. Delanty was Danny Santulli's "pledge dad" when Santulli became unresponsive after drinking at a Phi Gamma Delta party.

Delanty is the first member in the fraternity involved in the case to have a trial date.

"He is the fraternity member who handed Danny the family bottle of Tito's vodka. He was very very involved in what happened," said David Bianchi, an attorney who represented the family in a civil suit and keeps in touch with them.

Santulli's family filed a lawsuit against several fraternity members which was settled out of court. The family says Santulli is unable to speak or get around on his own.

"Danny's life has been ruined, and the whole family, the whole Santulli family will never be the same," Bianchi said.

Bianchi said that members of FIJI, a nickname for the fraternity, ignored sanctions that were already placed on the fraternity by the university.

Delanty's trial is scheduled to start Dec. 5 and last four days, according to online court records. He is one of several fraternity members charged in connection with Santulli's alcohol poisoning.

"It's important that justice be done because although they can't do anything to undo what happened to their son, they could try to stop it from happening again," Bianchi said. "You got to do something to wake these guys up, and send a message to the next generation of fraternity members."

Santulli's family and prosecutors allege the pledge was forced to drink an excessive amount of hard liquor and that fraternity members didn't act quickly enough to get him medical attention. The fraternity chapter was shut down after the incident.

Three other defendants had hearings before a judge Monday but only their lawyers showed up. Samuel J. Morrison, Blake A. Morsovillo and John James O’Neill were ordered to appear in person at their next court date, at which trial dates are expected to be set.

Delanty's lawyer confirmed he is not a student at the university anymore, but refused to comment further about the trial.

There was no one available to speak about the trial from the Boone County prosecutor's office Thursday.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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