Many people agree that this man has already been to hell and back. Because he was the one who let the three-year-old toddler fall to her death from the eleventh floor of the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, he now faces up to three years in prison for his role in the incident. However, Salvatore “Sam” Anello has remained silent since the tragic incident which occurred during the summer and resulted in the death of toddler Chloe Weigand.
On Wednesday, Sam Anello appeared in court after Puerto Rican officials called it their “duty” to charge the horrified grandfather with negligent homicide. Because he faces up to three years behind bars in the Puerto Rican slammer, he has to fight his way out of it lest he is found guilty.
Prosecutors believe that Anello has to be held responsible for the toddler’s death because he lifted the child toward the open window. Anello did not realize the window was wide open, which allowed the toddler to fall through and tumbled to her death while on a cruise on the Royal Caribbean ship Freedom of the Seas. The horrific incident occurred while the ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on July 7, 2019.
The news horrified millions of parents and grandparents when it first broke. However, none were as destroyed as Anello, who knew that if it wasn’t for his negligence, his beautiful granddaughter would still be alive.
“They can’t do anything worse to me than has already happened,” Anello said at his court appearance on Wednesday.
Anello continues to work despite his elderly age as an information technology worker. He lived in Valparaiso, Indiana, and appeared to be very sad when he arrived at San Juan Superior Court. He did not utter a sound as he shuffled through the crowd of reporters that had gathered to watch the man face his charges of negligence.
While Anello was in court, he sat alone on a wooden bench when a court-appointed translator told him what was going on. He wore a black pinstripe suit and a checkered tie.
Judge Gisela Alfonso Fernandez took a look at the gray-haired grandpa with glasses that she wanted to give both him and the prosecutors more time to prepare for the trial. There is currently a pre-trial conference scheduled for December 17, 2019.
Anello will also have the option to choose a bench trial or a trial by jury.
Defense attorney Jose Guillermo Perez Ortiz asked the judge if his client could be excused from attending the trial.
The judge lashed back, “In this type of case, it is mandatory to attend.”
Although everyone understands that Anello is going through hell after the death of his granddaughter, the Puerto Rican officials believe he needs to face justice for what he allowed to happen to the child, although it was a complete accident.
Following the incident, the parents of the deceased toddler, Alan and Kimberly Weigand, have been supportive of Anello, the maternal grandfather, instead of blaming Royal Caribbean for the death of their little girl.
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