Saturday, September 08, 2007

Owners of St.Rita's Nursing Home found not guilty...

Flanked by their defense attorneys Jim Cobb,left, and John Reed, far right in red tie, Mabel Mangano and husband Sal walk out into the rain following the not guilty verdict at the West Feliciana Parish Courthouse in St. Francisville,Louisiana Friday. (Times-Picyune Staff Photo)

The jury found the owners of a St. Bernard Parish nursing home not guilty Friday night in the deaths of 35 residents who drowned during Hurricane Katrina.

The jury's decision capped a three-week trial that brought the state's highest official to the witness stand as attorneys tried to assign blame for the deaths of the elderly people at St. Rita's nursing home.

Sal and Mabel Mangano, who owned the nursing home near Poydras, faced 35 counts of negligent homicide for the residents who died and 24 counts of cruelty to the infirm for the residents who survived the flood but had to be floated out of the building on mattresses and taken by boat to a makeshift shelter.

The jury deliberated around four hours. The couple was found not guilty on all counts.

Like many of the stories associated with Hurricane Katrina this is a very sad story in which there are no winners. Hopefully, all the families who lost loved ones in this tragedy can put this story behind them.