Katrina Nursing Home Owners Acquitted of Homicide

The nursing home owners on trial for negligent homicide and cruelty for failing to evacuate during Katrina were acquitted today. 35 elderly patients died at the home.

Prosecutors say the Manganos should have evacuated the home as the storm closed in. Defense lawyers say levee failures and a government that never called a mandatory evacuation are to blame.

....The Manganos have said the area had never flooded in the 20 years St. Rita's was in operation, and defense attorney Jim Cobb said that was the basis for their decision to ride out the storm.

"We're talking frail people, people with special needs, people who would be at risk during an evacuation," Cobb said before the trial began. "The Manganos thought they were saving lives by sheltering in place."

Gov. Blanco testified during the trial that no mandatory evacuation order was given.

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