Santoro sentenced for killing Rowell - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Santoro sentenced for killing Rowell

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Charles Geoffrey Santoro was sentenced last week for the death of Levi Rowell in Toole County.

Here are the sentences for each conviction:

Count I: Negligent Homicide - 20 years with 5 years suspended
Count II: Criminal Endangerment - 10 years with 5 years suspended
Count III: Criminal Endangerment - 10 years with 5 years suspended

The terms were ordered to be served consecutively.

A Toole County jury deliberated for more than seven hours in August 2016 before returning a guilty verdict on all three felony charges against Santoro. 

The unanimous verdict found Santoro guilty of negligent homicide for killing Rowell by running over him with his pickup truck in the parking lot of the Veterans Club in Sunburst in August of 2013. The two criminal endangerment charges were for injuries to Levi’s wife, Tiffany, and a friend, Justin Gallup.

KSEN reported during the trial: "Santoro testified that he was upset when he left the bar that night because of the bantering that was going on was all being directed “to me." Santoro admitted he was angry because as he was leaving, he made the comment that as a veteran he couldn’t even get a drink in a veteran’s club. He said he guessed he was not even welcome in a veterans club and “None of you are even veterans”. At that time, court records indicate, Rowell stated calmly, 'neither are you Geoff.'"

Santoro alleged that Rowell attacked him, putting his hands around his neck and was trying to pull him out of his pickup. He said he was "scared to death" when he hit the accelerator in reverse and ran over Rowell.

In closing arguments, the defense attorney attempted to portray Santoro as someone that was trying to avoid a fight and “chose to retreat from Levi Rowell by using his truck and tried to get away” from Rowell.

Prosecuting attorney Chad Parker painted a much different picture, saying that Santoro created the risk of killing three people and did kill one.

Read more at the KSEN website.

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