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Charles Geoffrey Santoro

Charles Geoffrey Santoro 

GREAT FALLS — The Montana Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a man convicted in a deadly hit-and-run, finding his lawyers should have acquired the testimony of the state trooper who investigated the case.

The Great Falls Tribune reports the court in an opinion Tuesday determined that attorneys for Charles Geoffrey Santoro had "rendered ineffective assistance of counsel."

Santoro was convicted of negligent homicide and criminal endangerment in the death of Levi Rowell outside a bar in Sunburst in 2013.

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According to court documents, Santoro reversed his truck with the door open, catching Rowell and dragging him under the vehicle.

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Court documents say the trooper's report did not support prosecutors' theory that Santoro ran over Rowell a second time.

State Department of Justice spokesperson Anastasia Burton declined comment on the case.

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