Nursing Home Owners Acquitted of Patient Deaths A jury in Louisiana has acquitted the owners of a New Orleans-area nursing home of negligent homicide in the deaths of 35 elderly patients who drowned during Hurricane Katrina.
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Nursing Home Owners Acquitted of Patient Deaths

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Nursing Home Owners Acquitted of Patient Deaths

Nursing Home Owners Acquitted of Patient Deaths

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SCOTT SIMON, Host:

NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN: Outside, Mabel Mangano could only say how thankful she was their long nightmare was over.

SIMON: Everybody has been wonderful to us, and thank you all.

KAHN: Defense lawyer Jim Cobb said justice was served.

SIMON: The overwhelming weight of the evidence was that Sal and Mabel, just like everybody else, did the very best that they could under incredible circumstances. And for the state to single out just these two folks and no one else, this jury felt was not fair.

KAHN: State prosecutor Julie Cullen said she was disappointed jurors did not hold the Manganos responsible for the decision to shelter in place.

SIMON: But we do - we accept the jury's verdict. And it was a difficult case. The victims' voices were heard. That was our role, that was our job, and we feel we accomplished that.

KAHN: The defense called just five witnesses, and the Manganos did not testify. That angered Dale Sanderson whose mother drowned at St. Rita's nursing home. She said Mabel Mangano never showed any remorse. Sanderson was inconsolable after the jury's quick verdict and was helped out of the courtroom.

SIMON: Our own loved ones, who we adored, if we would still have them, and have one breath or two breaths or maybe 10 breaths, and they would still be there that we could hold their hands as they die.

KAHN: Carrie Kahn, NPR News, St. Francisville, Louisiana.

SIMON: This is NPR News.

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