The Latest: Victims applaud prison sentences for salmonella

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Posted: Sep 21, 2015 7:44 PM
The Latest: Victims applaud prison sentences for salmonella

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — The latest developments in the sentencing of a former peanut company executive convicted in a deadly salmonella outbreak from 2008 and 2009.

7:29 p.m.

Relatives of Americans whose deaths were linked to salmonella-tainted food from a Georgia peanut plant are applauding stiff prison sentences imposed on the plant's owner and two others.

Former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell was sentenced to 28 years in prison by a U.S. District Court judge Monday. Randy Napier, whose 80-year-old mother died from salmonella poisoning after eating the company's peanut butter, said the punishment should "send a message to the other manufacturers" of American foods.

Defense attorney Tom Bondurant said 28 years in prison would be a life sentence for 61-year-old Parnell. Parnell and his two co-defendants plan to appeal.

The outbreak in 2008 and 2009 was blamed for nine deaths, sickened hundreds more and triggered one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history.

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5:50 p.m.

The brother of a former peanut company executive has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a deadly salmonella outbreak.

Michael Parnell was a food broker who worked with his brother, Stewart Parnell, who used to own Peanut Corporation of America. Michael Parnell worked as a broker to provide Kellogg's with peanut paste from Stewart Parnell's company.

Stewart Parnell was sentenced Monday to 28 years in prison for knowingly shipping contaminated peanut butter and faking results of lab tests intended to screen for salmonella.

The plant's former quality control manager, Mary Wilkerson, was sentenced to five years in prison.

The outbreak in 2008 and 2009 was blamed for nine deaths and sickened hundreds more, and triggered one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history.

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5:25 p.m.

A former peanut company executive has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for his role in a nationwide salmonella outbreak blamed for killing nine Americans and sickening hundreds more.

A federal judge in Georgia sentenced 61-year-old Stewart Parnell on Monday in what is believed to be the most severe punishment ever handed out to a producer in a foodborne illness case. The former Peanut Corporation of America owner was convicted a year ago of knowingly shipping food tainted with salmonella and for faking lab records that said his products were safe.

Peanut butter and other products from Parnell's plant in Blakely, Georgia, went to customers who used them in foods from snack crackers to pet food. The salmonella outbreak in 2008 and 2009 triggered a massive food recall.

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3:55 p.m.

A former peanut executive facing a stiff prison sentence says he's "truly sorry" that conditions at his Georgia plant spawned a salmonella outbreak blamed for killing nine people and sickening hundreds more.

Former Peanut Corporation of American owner Stewart Parnell addressed a federal judge and a courtroom full of victims' families during his sentencing hearing Monday. In a shaky voice, he asked them all for forgiveness.

Parnell told the victims: "I think about you guys every day." He acknowledged problems at his plant, but did not address emails and company records that showed Parnell knowingly shipped salmonella-tainted peanut butter and faked lab records.

Prosecutor Alan Dasher told Judge W. Louis Sands that Parnell should be "punished to the extreme." He faces up to 803 years in prison.

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12:45 p.m.

The family of a former peanut executive is asking a federal judge to show mercy when sentencing him for his role in a deadly salmonella outbreak.

Former Peanut Corporation of American owner Stewart Parnell buried his face in his hand Monday as his daughter told a federal judge "my dad's heart is genuine."

The daughter, Grey Adams, said her father and the rest of their family remain "profoundly sorry" for the outbreak in 2008 and 2009, which was blamed for nine deaths and 714 illnesses.

Parnell faces up to 803 years in prison. He was convicted a year ago of knowingly shipping contaminated peanut butter and faking results of lab tests.

Experts say Parnell and two co-defendants were the first U.S. food processors to stand trial in a food-poisoning case.

Three deaths linked to the outbreak occurred in Minnesota, two in Ohio, two in Virginia, one in Idaho and one in North Carolina.

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11:40 a.m.

Families of children sickened and adults who died after getting salmonella poisoning from peanut butter are asking a federal judge to deliver a stiff sentence to the executive whose company made the tainted food.

Former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell sat in a Georgia courtroom Monday as nine people testified about the terror and grief their families suffered during a salmonella outbreak traced to the company in 2009.

Jacob Hurley, who was 3 years old when peanut butter crackers made him severely ill, told the judge it would be OK for Parnell "to spend the rest of his life in prison."

Parnell, who was convicted of knowingly shipping contaminated peanut butter and faking results of lab tests, faces up to 803 years in prison.

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7 a.m.

A former peanut executive convicted of shipping tainted food and faking lab tests for contaminants could be sent to prison for life when he's sentenced by a federal judge.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Monday in U.S. District Court in southwest Georgia for 61-year-old Stewart Parnell. The former Peanut Corporation of America owner and two co-defendants were convicted a year ago of crimes linked to a salmonella outbreak blamed for killing nine Americans and sickening 714.

The outbreak led to one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history and cost Parnell's customers an estimated $144 million.

Judge W. Louis Sands has calculated that Parnell faces up to 803 years in federal prison.

Also facing prison are Parnell's brother, Michael Parnell, and the plant's former quality control manager, Mary Wilkerson.