Trial Begins for Former CEO of Lynchburg-Based Peanut Corporation of America

UPDATE: Jury selection began today in the case of a Lynchburg-based company linked to a deadly salmonella outbreak.

A federal grand jury indicted Peanut Corporation of America CEO Stewart Parnell and three others last year ---for knowingly shipping out contaminated products from their Georgia plant.

The charges included conspiracy, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

It sparked one of the nation's largest recalls and now the trial is underway for three Peanut Corporation of America Officials.

Company President Stewart Parnell, brother Michael Parnell and employee Mary Wilkerson are all accused of knowingly shipping out salmonella-tainted peanuts from 2008 to 2009.

The salmonella outbreak sickened more than 700 people and led to nine deaths. Government officials launched the criminal investigation after inspectors traced the outbreak to a PCA plant in Blakely, Georgia. They say they found unsanitary conditions,such as filthy containers used to ship product, as well as roaches, rodents, mold, and a leaking roof near the production area. Congressional investigators uncovered emails which they say show Parnell was aware of the salmonella contamination but ordered the products to be shipped-- after a second test cleared the contaminated products. Parnell chose to plead the 5th. PCA went bankrupt shortly after the outbreak. The company reached a 12-million dollar settlement with those affected. The money was dispersed based on the victims' illness.


UPDATE: A Lynchburg man charged in connection with a deadly salmonella outbreak that led to one of the largest food recalls in history is set to go on trial this week in Georgia.Stewart Parnell and two others face several federal charges following the deaths of nine people. Between 2008 and 2009... the CDC found over 700 people infected with salmonella. Nine people died - and two of those deaths were in Virginia. Federal officials traced the outbreak backed to peanuts processed by Peanut Corporation of America... based in Lynchburg. The Georgia plant manager, Samuel Lightsey pleaded guilty to seven counts in May.-----Lynchburg, VA - A trial date has been set for the former CEO of Lynchburg-based Peanut Corporation of America and three of his former company officials. Stewart Parnell, Michael Parnell, Samuel Lightsey and Mary Wilkerson are scheduled to be in an Albany, Georgia federal courtroom on February 10 of next year. The trial comes a year after a special grand jury handed down a 75-count indictment ranging from wire fraud to obstruction of justice. The charges are connected to the deadliest salmonella outbreak in US history. According to court documents, the trial is expected to take a total of three weeks, two for the prosecution and one for the defense