Prosecution rests in Katrina deaths case

Aug. 29, 2007 at 2:40 PM

ST. FRANCISVILLE, La., Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The prosecution rested Wednesday in the trial of two owners of a Louisiana nursing home in which 35 elderly residents died during Hurricane Katrina flooding.

Earlier, the prosecution called a final witness, a firefighter who described searching for his father's body when he went to the nursing home after the storm subsided, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported.

Steve Galladoro said he was unaware of his father's death when he went to the St. Rita's nursing home to find it filled with 6 feet of water. He said he saw three bodies floating in a hallway inside.

Blocked furniture kept him from getting his father's body but Galladoro later confronted Sal Mangano, who owned the home with his wife, Mabel Mangano.

"I asked him what he was doing riding around in a boat when there were bodies floating in his nursing home," Galladoro said. "He told me there were bodies floating all over St. Bernard (Parish)."

The Manganos each face 35 counts of negligent homicide and 24 counts of cruelty to the infirm for the suffering of residents who survived the flood.

The defense is expected to begin its case Thursday but declined to say whether the Manganos would testify.

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