Charged in 34 deaths for doing the same thing as Bush: Negligent Homicide

NEW ORLEANS — The owners of a nursing home where 34 residents are believed to have drowned during Hurricane Katrina were charged Tuesday with negligent homicide.

Before the storm arrived, St. Bernard Parish officials had asked the owners of St. Rita's Nursing Home — Salvadore Mangano Sr., 65, and his wife, Mabel, 62 — whether they wanted to move the residents, Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti said.

"They did not," Foti said. "They were warned repeatedly that this storm was coming. In effect, their inaction resulted in the deaths of these patients."

Neighbors described a horrible scene that unfolded on Aug. 29, the day Katrina hit. Floodwaters rose to the roof of the one-story nursing home in St. Bernard, outside New Orleans, trapping elderly and infirm residents inside. Neighbors came in boats and smashed a hole in the roof.

"We tried to get out as many as we could," said Steve Snyder, 29, an oil rig worker. "All we could go by was the hollering and screaming, 'Help, help!' "

"We got 25 to 27 people out alive," Snyder said. "And then we didn't hear any more screaming, any more people calling for help."

The Manganos surrendered to authorities on Tuesday and were charged with 34 counts of negligent homicide. Each count carries a maximum five years in prison. The two were released on $50,000 bond each.

A lawyer for the Manganos said they were being scapegoated. "They are completely innocent," lawyer James Cobb said

USATODAY.com - Pair charged in 34 deaths


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