Judge upholds acquittal in 9 hurricane nursing home deaths
Fort Lauderdale, FL –
A Florida judge said Monday he will not reconsider the acquittal of a nursing home manager who killed nine patients from overheating after Hurricane Irma destroyed the facility’s air conditioning in 2017, prosecutors said. rejected its fervent plea.
Circuit Judge John J. Murphy III calmly listened Monday morning as prosecutor Charles Morton argued for a new trial. But after about an hour of deliberation, Murphy upheld his Friday decision to acquit Jorge Carvalho of manslaughter, even before the three-week trial reached the jury.
Murphy agreed with Carvallo’s attorneys that it was a double jeopardy to overturn his decision and allow the trial to continue. In his previous sentencing, he said prosecutors had shown prosecutors that their clients had acted with reckless disregard for human life, or that they had shown a conscious indifference to patient safety, two factors necessary for a conviction. I agreed with the defense that I could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
A judge found “incontrovertible evidence” that Carballo employees attempted to provide care to patients, and in Monday’s ruling, what was presented in court even if he was unable to do so. Even so, he said nothing would change his mind.
Murphy said Monday, “The state has not presented sufficient evidence that the defendant was at fault. Prosecutors cannot appeal the decision, which is final.”
Carvallo’s attorney did not immediately return calls seeking a response to the verdict.
Carvallo, 65, was running a rehabilitation center in the Hollywood Hills in September 2017 when Irma turned off the air conditioning in the 150-bed facility. Temperatures in the building rose more than two days before the patient began dying on her second floor. That’s where an improperly installed temporary air conditioner actually raised the already sweltering temperatures.
In Hollywood, four patients were first found dead after paramedics received a call about someone having a heart attack, and more later died in hospitals, officials said. Overall, more than 100 patients were found to be suffering from the heat, many evacuated on stretchers or wheelchairs.
Carvallo and three of his employees were originally charged with 12 deaths, but prosecutors dropped charges against others and reduced the number against Carvalro. If convicted, he faced up to his 30 years in prison.
Irma had cut the wires that powered the facility’s air conditioning only. Other forces in the facility remained. Even at the large regional hospital across the street, power and air conditioning were intact, and prosecutors and the family argued that the patient should have been evacuated.
Broward County State Attorney Harold Pryor issued a statement Monday, saying he and his team “gravely accept the judge’s decision, but we strongly disagree with it.”
“I think we can all agree that we would like our family to be treated with more care and concern,” he said.
Glendale Owens, whose father, Bobby Owens, died at the facility at age 83, was frustrated with the judge’s ruling. I believe it should have been.
“Nine patients died. Nine elderly, helpless patients were confined to their beds. They were professionals (paid) to take care of them.” We are not responsible for their deaths, they died in vain.”
At Monday’s hearing, Morton tried to convince Murphy that the judge did not consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, as required by law before unilateral acquittal.
Morton said evidence presented showed Carvallo had been warned by medical staff that a patient upstairs was overheating well before he died, but he was more worried about money than health. It is said that
He called Carvalo’s behavior “criminally despicable and negligent”. When the defense said they had never been charged in a case like this before, he said it was “because no one has ever been so criminally negligent and caused the deaths of multiple people.” Stated.
He said he didn’t need a medical degree to understand how rising temperatures could endanger elderly and frail patients.
“We don’t need a weatherman to tell us where the wind is going,” Morton said, paraphrasing Bob Dylan’s “Homesick Blues Underground.”
Outside the courtroom, before the judge’s ruling, Carballo’s attorney James Cobb accused Morton of his client’s characterization.
“What is despicable about this case is that the state continues to pursue Mr. Carvalho. He is presumed innocent. It’s out of scope and an abuse of prosecutorial discretion to come to this court and say he’s ‘despicable’,” Cobb said.