Santoro Found Guilty on All Charges
A Toole County jury deliberated for more than seven hours before returning a guilty verdict on all three felony charges against Geoffrey Santoro of Kevin. The unanimous verdict found Santoro guilty of negligent homicide for killing Levi Rowell by running over him with his pickup in the parking lot of the Vet's Club in Sunburst in August of 2013.
In closing arguments, prosecuting attorney Chad Parker said Santoro not only ran over Rowell as he floored the pickup in reverse, but then again when he went forward.The two criminal endangerment charges are for injuries to Levi's wife, Tiffany, and a friend, Justin Gallup who were also, as Parker put it, "Scattered along the ground"
Court testimony indicates that Santoro became upset after a patron said that maybe Santoro should leave because of crude behavior he was displaying. At that point, Santoro commented that he was a veteran and couldn't even get a drink in a veteran's club. He also commend that, "None of you are even veterans", at which time Rowell said, " Neither are you Geoff", further upsetting Santoro.
Following the reading of the verdict, Parker made an impassioned plea to have Santoro remanded to custody saying that he had shown threatening behavior to a Toole County deputy during the deputies' testimony and, Parker said "to me as well." Parker said he feared Santoro was a "Danger to the public," and especially the family and friends of Levi Rowell. District Judge James Haynes did double a previously set bond to one hundred thousand dollars and Santoro was remanded to the custody of the Toole County Sheriff's Department.
Santoro is facing a maximum of twenty years in prison on the negligent homicide conviction and ten years on each of the criminal endangerment convictions. He could also be ordered to pay up to $150,000 in fines on the three convictions.
Judge Haynes set sentencing for October 14.