Defendant in University of Missouri hazing case takes plea deal
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
One of several men charged in connection with a University of Missouri fraternity pledge's alcohol poisoning at a party took a plea deal Monday.
Thomas A. Shultz of Chesterfield, Missouri, pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of supplying alcohol to a minor. A Boone County grand jury indicted Shultz last June on felony hazing and evidence tampering charges in addition to the misdemeanor.
Judge Jeff Harris sentenced Shultz to a year of probation along with 30 days of shock jail time and 100 hours of community service. He'll spend a year in jail if he violates probation.
Shultz was also ordered not to drink alcohol or visit any business serving alcohol.
During the hearing Shultz also had to sit through two powerful impact statements from Santulli’s family. The first was read by his aunt, Chrissy Prioleau, who addressed the courthouse via ZOOM. She labeled Shultz as “arrogant, privileged, and a coward”.
She also accused Shultz of knowing that the fraternity was under sanctions from the University, willingly serving alcohol to minors, even reading a text from the night of the incident which said “we will need a truck to pick up the amount of alcohol”.
In one of the more impactful moments of the testimony Prioleau said that she hopes that Shultz is thinking of Danny during all of his major life events, like his wedding because that is what he and the fraternity took away from him.
"He should be grateful because Danny is alive and not dead, and he is not facing murder charges," Prioleau said. "Thomas Schultz is a hundred percent involved and responsible for the state Danny is in right now."
Danny’s cousin Erika also addressed the courthouse but due to audio issues her statement was read by attorney Nick Komoroski. Her statement said that she wouldn't wish what happened ti Danny on her worst enemy and that the life was sucked out of her when she heard the news..
Both statements expressed dismay that shultz did not reach out.
“Not a single person called or texted to check in on him, came to see him in the hospital,nothing. the silence could not have been louder,” Erkia’s statement read.”
Danny’s mother was unable to attend the hearing because she was at what the family called one of Danny’s “endless appointments and hospital visits.” Prioleau said that Danny’s mother was looking forward to being an empty nester since Danny was the last of her children to move out of the house. She added that now her life has been “turned upside down”. In Erika’s statement she also said that Danny’s mother needed to quit her job in order to take care of him.
Shultz had been charged after Danny Santulli became unresponsive at an October 2021 Phi Gamma Delta party. Santulli's family alleged in a lawsuit that was later settled that other fraternity members forced Santulli to drink to excess and didn't immediately give him aid when he became unresponsive.
The fraternity was kicked off campus and its recognition from its national organization was withdrawn.
The family says Santulli is unable to speak or get around on his own and is now permanently blind.
The first trial date for one of the defendants in the case was set earlier this month. Ryan Delanty, Santulli's "pledge dad" at the fraternity known as FIJI, is scheduled to go to trial in December.