The owners of a suburban New Orleans nursing home where 35 patients died after Hurricane Katrina have been acquitted of negligent homicide and cruelty charges for not evacuating the facility as the storm approached.
The jury took about four hours to acquit Sal and Mabel Mangano, the husband-and-wife owners of St. Ritas Nursing Home in St. Bernard Parish.
I cant tell you how good this feels, how good those people are, Mabel Mangano said outside the courthouse in St. Francisville, the town about 112 miles northwest of New Orleans where the trial was moved. This has been a very rough road.
The couple had faced 35 counts of negligent homicide and 24 counts of cruelty to the elderly or infirm after the patients drownedsome in their bedswhen the large hurricane swept through the area.
Judge Jerome Winsberg asked the defendants to stand when the verdicts were read. Mabel Mangano buried her face in her husbands shoulder as she stood.
Once the verdicts were read, the Manganos hugged. Their daughter, Tammy White, sobbed quietly as the victims family and friendsall wearing black, some with buttons with a picture of a loved one who died at St. Ritassat stoically. None cried. -- by the Associated Press
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