There has been a significant update in the Danny Santulli criminal hazing cases in Missouri. In the most recent development, Samuel Gandhi, a former Phi Gamma Delta fraternity member, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of supplying a minor with alcohol. The prosecutor accepted this plea in exchange for dropping the felony hazing charge against Gandhi. Consequently, he was sentenced to 15 days of shock time in county jail, 2 years of probation, and 100 hours of community service. (Shock time is a short jail stay intended to “shock” the defendant into never committing the same crime again).
Gandhi’s case is only one of a few speeding toward resolution in the coming months. The next former fraternity member implicated in robbing Danny Santulli of his sight, mobility, and cognitive function, Ben Parres, will be standing trial beginning July 26. Following Parres' trial, Alec Wetzler, another defendant who pled guilty, will face his sentencing hearing in August.
Why These Cases Could Save Lives
The significance of these trials cannot be understated. Danny Santulli’s case has brought the severity of fraternity hazing into sharp focus, and these criminal proceedings will test the strength of Missouri’s anti-hazing laws.
Their outcomes will be vital in deterring future hazing and protecting other potential victims.
“This is the fourth guilty plea by one of the fraternity members responsible for the horrific injuries to Danny Santulli,” said Attorney David Bianchi who represented Danny in the civil case against 25 defendants. “The hazing laws are getting much tougher in the United States. These days, if you haze and injure someone, you can count on going to jail. With another fraternity recruiting season set to start soon, we will be watching very closely to make sure that anyone who hazes and injures a fraternity pledge feels the full weight of the law. Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Ask any of the Santulli defendants who have gone to jail and whose families paid large civil settlements."