MO State HS Sports

Plea hearing scheduled in high-profile Columbia hazing case

Boone County Courthouse

Boone County Courthouse
The Boone County Courthouse is in downtown Columbia (2019 file photo from 939 the Eagle)

A former Fiji fraternity member charged with felony hazing for a high-profile 2021 Columbia incident involving Danny Santulli is scheduled to appear in court Friday afternoon for a plea hearing.

Boone County prosecutors have charged 23-year-old Samuel Morrison of Cameron with hazing, which is a class D felony. Online court records show prosecutors and defense attorney Jeffery Hilbrenner have requested that the case be set for a plea hearing. Boone County Circuit Judge Brouck Jacobs has scheduled a 1:30 plea hearing for tomorrow afternoon.

Santulli’s family members say he’s blind, following the October 2021 incident. They say he’ll need care for life due to a severe, permanent brain injury.

Another co-defendant, 21-year-old Benjamin Karl of Columbia, is also charged with hazing. Boone County Circuit Judge Joshua Calvin Devine has scheduled a three-day jury trial for Karl. Under Judge Devine’s order, the jury will be selected on January 9 in eastern Missouri’s Warren County, before being transported to the Boone County Courthouse for trial. Boone County assistant prosecutor Nick Komoroski and defense attorney Benjamin Faber will deliver opening statements to the jury in that case on January 10 in Columbia.