STFBC has been closely following the developments in the felony hazing prosecution linked to the tragic case of Daniel Santulli. As the leading firm nationwide when it comes to representing victims of hazing, we recognize the implications these trials carry in shaping Missouri’s stance on hazing.
In the most recent update, defendant Benjamin Parres, charged with felony hazing, is requesting a trial date in January. Benjamin Karl, another defendant facing the same charges, has yet to set a trial date, with a court appearance due on July 17th to decide on the same.
Three other defendants, all charged with supplying alcohol to a minor, have opted for plea deals. These deals came with relatively mild sentences of 15–30 days of jail time and 1–2 years of probation for misdemeanor charges.
Parres would become the fourth defendant in the Santulli case with a scheduled jury trial, joining Samuel Morrison, Ryan Delanty, and Samuel Lane. All three are charged with hazing-life endangerment, which are felonies. Morrison’s trial is set to begin on September 26, while Delanty and Lane are scheduled for December.
David Bianchi, who represented the Santulli family in civil court, was asked by ABC 17 to weigh in:
“Everyone impacted by the hazing of Danny Santulli is following the criminal cases carefully. It is important that Missouri’s hazing laws be enforced and we are seeing that happen now. We hope that the criminal charges will send a strong message to the fraternities and sororities that you cannot haze pledges and, if you do, there will be consequences that will follow you for the rest of your life. Don’t do it. It’s simply not worth it. Ask anyone who just plead guilty.”
These trials are critical in setting a precedent for how severely felony hazing is dealt with under Missouri law. Daniel Santulli’s hazing injuries were the worst we had ever witnessed, and leniency by the juries might lead to similar tragedies in the future.