Nursing Home Owners Acquitted in Katrina Deaths

Jury finds couple innocent of negligent homicide after 35 patients drowned
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2007 8:49 AM CDT
Defense attorney James Cobb, left, meets with the media as Sal Mangano, right, kisses his wife, Mabel, Friday, Sept. 7, 2007, in St. Francisville, La., after the Manganos were acquitted of negligent homicide...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The owners of a Louisiana nursing home were acquitted of negligent homicide and cruelty yesterday in the deaths of 35 patients who drowned in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The charges were based on the couple's failure to evacuate the home as the storm approached; the defense argued that the government never mandated evacuation and that the area had not flooded in the 20 years of the home's existence.

The governor of Louisiana was called as a witness to explain that she left the decision to evacuate up to local officials. More than 30 lawsuits have been filed against the couple, Sal and Mabel Mangano, by families of the injured and dead.