Former CEO Indicted After Deadly Salmonella Outbreak
Lynchburg, VA - A federal grand jury has indicted four former officials of Peanut Corporation of America for the massive salmonella outbreak four years ago. It killed nine people and sickened hundreds more.
Stewart Parnell of Lynchburg, his brother, and two former employees at the Georgia peanut plant are all facing criminal charges.
Prosecutors claim Parnell knew some shipments were tainted with the deadly bacteria and forged documents to make it look like they passed inspection.
The peanut products were shipped across the country, prompting the largest food recall in U.S. history.
Nellie Napier was always strong. She raised five children on her own, never accepted government assistance and retired from a job she'd held for 23 years.
But in 2009, after eating a jar of salmonella-laced peanut butter, the 80-year-old Ohio woman died.
"I've had four years to put all these feelings away and now they're all coming back," said her son, Randy Napier.
Clifford Tousignant was a Korean War veteran, awarded three purple hearts. And in 2009, his son began his own battle to see Peanut Corporation of America officials held criminally responsible for his death.
CEO Stewart Parnell, along with the Vice President and two employees at their Georgia plant, are named in the 76-count indictment.
The charges include conspiracy, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and others related to contaminated or misbranded food.
"I think this is the one thing that will hopefully make people think twice before maliciously making business decisions around sending products that are tainted," said Lou Tousignant.
The victims' families say Stewart Parnell has never publicly or privately apologized and they didn't get one when we stopped by the Lynchburg home where he ran the business. Parnell's relatives had no comment, and asked us to leave the property.
PCA is now bankrupt and the families with loved ones who died are looking forward to seeing its former executives in federal court.
"When the trial is over, my mother will finally rest in peace. And I hope she is smiling down," said Randy Napier.