The Parnells and Mary Wilkerson will face the victims, and the court, in just over 13 hours. CNN and AP have been blowing up the internet with the story. Here is part of it:
Federal and state disease detectives traced the deaths of nine people, including Shirley Almer, to PCA’s peanut processing plant in Blakely, Georgia. Another 714 people in 46 states were sickened with Salmonella in 2008.
Stewart Parnell now faces life in prison. His brother and food broker, Michael Parnell, faces at least 17 years, and a plant manager, Mary Wilkerson, could be behind bars for five years. Two other employees pleaded guilty and testified against the Parnells and Wilkerson.
“Our government seems to be sending a clear message that poisoning your customers may well land you in jail,” said Bill Marler, a Seattle food safety lawyer who represented several victims of the outbreak, including Almer.
The prosecution was a rarity, Marler said, because the Department of Justice charged the Parnell brothers and Wilkerson with felonies.
“Prosecutors took a risk and fortunately, the jury believed them,” Marler said. “The jury saw this for what it was. The emails and documents told a story of a company that was more interested in shipping out products than products that were safe.”