AUGUST 17TH, 2021

(SUNBURST) – AFTER 8 YEARS AND TWO TRIALS, THE VERDICT FOR CHARLES GEOFFREY SANTORO IS THE SAME.   GUILTY ON ONE COUNT OF NEGLIGENT HOMOCIDE AND GUILTY ON BOTH COUNTS CRIMINAL ENDANGERMENT.

MANY RECALL THE HORRIFIC STORY IN AUGUST OF 2013 WHEN A DISPUTE BETWEEN LEVI ROWELL AND SANTORO STARTED IN THE VETS CLUB IN SUNBURST  AND SPILLED INTO THE PARKING LOT  WHERE SANTORO WAS ACCUSED OF RUNNING OVER ROWELL, MORE THAN ONCE AND KILLING HIM.

SANTORO WAS FOUND GUILTY  OF NEGLIGENT HOMOCIDE AND 2 COUNTS OF CRIMINAL ENDANGERMENT AT THE END OF HIS 1ST TRIAL, BUT HE LATER APPEALED THE NEGLIGENT HOMOCIDE CHARGE ONLY.  THE BASIS OF THE APPEAL WAS THAT WHILE OUTSIDE THE VETS CLUB, LEVI ROWELL WAS CHOKING HIM WHILE HE WAS IN HIS TRUCK AND THAT HE GASSED  THE TRUCK IN REVERSE, IN JUSTIFIABLE DEFENSE, THROWING ROWELL UNDER THE TRUCK AT WHICH TIME HE WAS RUN OVER.

SEVERAL WITNESSES, HOWEVER SAID THAT SANTORO THEN PUT THE TRUCK IN DRIVE AND RAN OVER ROWELL A SECOND TIME.

ANOTHER KEY COMPONENT OF THE APPEAL WAS THAT INVESTIGATING HIGHWAY PATROL OFFICER CHRISTOPHER GARZA WAS NO LONGER IN THE AREA AND THE PROSECUTION, NOR SANTORO’S DEFENSE ATTORNEY WERE ABLE TO LOCATE GARZA SOON ENOUGH TO TESTIFY .  BECAUSE OF THAT THE SUPREME COURT RULED THAT SANTORO’S COUNSEL WAS INEFFECTIVE AND THE NEW TRIAL WAS GRANTED.

OFFICER GARZA DID TESTIFY AT THE SECOND TRIAL WHICH CONCLUDED JUNE 25TH IN RAVALLI COUNTY DISTRICT COURT IN HAMILTON.   FOR A 2ND TIME, THE JURY FOUND SANTORO GUILTY OF NEGLIGENT HOMOCIDE.

AFTER THE 1ST TRIAL, SANTORO WAS SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS IN PRISON WITH 5 SUSPENDED  AND 10 YEARS ON EACH CRIMINAL ENDANGERMENT CHARGE WITH 5 SUSPENDED ON EACH OF THOSE. THE CRIMINAL ENDANGERMENT CHARGES WERE FOR INJURIES SUFFERED BY JUSTIN GALLUP, A FRIEND OF LEVI ROWELL’S AND TIFFANY ROWELL, LEVI’S WIFE.

SANTORO WAS ALSO ORDERED TO PAY RESTITUTION OF OVER 900-THOUSAND DOLLARS, MOSTLY TO TIFFANY ROWELL.

A SENTENCE HEARING ON THE RESULTS OF THE 2ND TRIAL ARE SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 7TH IN TOOLE COUNTY DISTRICT COURT.