December 1, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Grandfather pleaded guilty to toddler death in cruise ship crash

Grandfather pleaded guilty to toddler death in cruise ship crash

A grandfather 18-month-old girl who died He pleaded guilty Thursday to negligent homicide from the open window of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship last year.

The ship was on board a ship in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in July 2019, when Wygand fell through an 11-story window while in the care of his grandfather, Salvatore Anello, as a toddler.

Anello, also known as Sam Charged in October 2019 by Puerto Rican The authorities and initially pleaded not guilty. In February, he said he was going Accept guilt So his family can move forward from the tragedy.

Puerto Rico Department of Justice a Advertising On Thursday, the judge granted Anello’s request. He will be sentenced on December 10.

Michael Winkleman, a lawyer for the Wigand family, said Thursday that the petition agreement means Anello, who lives in South Bend, Indiana, could work under probation in his home state, except for prison time.

He said the decision to change the request was “very difficult” for Anello and family.

“But since prison time and facts are not accepted in the request agreement, this petition agreement is intended for the good of the family to close this terrible chapter and divert their attention to mourning and fighting for cruise passengers. The windows fall prevention laws designed to protect children from falling out of windows Safety by raising awareness about the need for all common carriers, ”the lawyer said in a statement.

He was with his mother in the children’s water park area on the 11th deck of the pool. Her mother had to lean on another thing and asked Anello to see her, According to a lawsuit The family filed for Royal Caribbean Cruises in December 2019.

The family blamed the cruise ship company for the deaths in Lo, The company strongly denied. The Royal Caribbean did not immediately release a request for comment Thursday.

In a July 2019 interview “TodayKimberly Wigand, the mother of Chloe, blamed the cruise line for the “unsafe condition” on the pool deck on the 11th floor.

“There are a million things to do to make that safe,” she says. “I know my mother is asking people, ‘Why on earth is the 11th floor window open with no screen or anything?’

Anello claimed her granddaughter was “closely monitoring” when she went to a nearby glass wall in Lolo. Anello followed and held the girl up to the window so that she could bang on the glass but she slipped out of his arms and fell through the open window.

Anello repeatedly said he did not know the window was open. In an interview with CBS last year, he pointed out that it was colorblind, suggesting why the difference between tinted closed windows and open windows was not recognized.

But The company resisted being the grandfather “Undoubtedly” knew the window was open.

The case, filed in January court in response to the lawsuit, shows a series of stills allegedly taken from a security video on the cruise line and showing that Annelu knew the window was open before grabbing his grandson.

“When he came to the open window, and was on the floor in the lol, Mr. Anello bent his upper body over the wooden railing and from the window frame for about eight seconds,” the company filed in court. “As Mr. Anello himself was leaning out of the window, he knew very well that the window was open.”

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Winkleman, a lawyer for the Wigand family, said the images were “misleading.”

Nicole Azevedo and The Associated Press Contributed.

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