Salvatore “Sam” Anello, who was blamed for the death of his infant granddaughter, Chloe Wiegand, as he dropped the toddler from the window of a cruise ship, has decided to admit his guilt in court in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
According to Michael Winkleman, the lawyer for the Wiegand family, the decision for Anello to plead guilty to negligent homicide was incredibly difficult for everyone, but since an agreement with the court could save him spending time in jail, it was worth it.
Winkleman also stated that another reason for accepting the plea deal as it was in the best interests of the family to be spared from additional legal troubles, so they could turn their focus on mourning their loss.
The attorney told the Daily Mail: “This decision was an incredibly difficult one for Sam and the family but because the plea agreement includes no jail time and no admission of facts.”
He continued with: “It was decided the plea deal is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter and turn their focus to mourning Chloe and fighting for cruise passenger safety by raising awareness about the need for all common carriers to adhere to window fall prevention laws designed to protect children from falling from windows.”
The Valparaiso, Indiana man also said in a statement: “I took a plea deal today to try to help end part of this nightmare for my family, if possible. The support they continue to give me has been beyond overwhelming and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for them.”
Apparently, under normal circumstances, the Puerto Rican law states that Anello could be sentenced to spend three years behind bars, but in this case, it would more likely that he will be put on probation.
Furthermore, even though Anello has already filed a motion stating that he wants to plead guilty, he still has to appear in court in an official hearing.
Meanwhile, it was reported that the parents of the late infant, Alan and Kimberly Wiegand, still hold the opinion that the cruise ship company, Royal Caribbean, was to blame for the tragic incident and not Anello.
The grieving parents have been insisting that the lack of safety measurements on the ship was the reason why their child was dead, and the couple now wants to fight to raise awareness that cruise ships need to be better prepared to prevent someone falling from their windows again.
Reactions are mixed when it comes to this outcome. One critic stated: “This man did something that will never be forgiven. It was very negligent of him to put that baby at a risk of that magnitude. That action will pursue him for the rest of his life and that of his family.”
A second commenter chimed in: “They just lost their daughter and they’re already looking for the spotlight and a payout. All while trying to shift the blame away from the grandfathers whose negligence caused this girl’s death.”
A defender of the family replied: “That sadness has double pain they treat him like a criminal when it was an accident.”
Royal Caribbean has not commented on the latest developments.