Louisiana drops some counts against Manganos

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Louisiana state prosecutors have dismissed three dozen criminal counts against the owners of St. Rita's nursing home where 35 residents died following Hurricane Katrina. But the owners still face a battle in court.

The state dropped 36 counts of cruelty to the infirm against Salvador and Mabel Mangano. A total of 28 counts of cruelty to the infirm and 35 counts of negligent homicide remain. Prosecutors shrugged off the moves as "procedural" and a way to "streamline" the case. The defense, which had argued that cruelty to the infirm charges could not be brought on behalf of dead people, called it a "very successful day."

Prosecutors believe the Manganos should have evacuated residents before flooding overwhelmed the facility. The Manganos argue that keeping residents in place was responsible, given the frail condition of the residents.

Each count of negligent homicide carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Each count of cruelty to the infirm carries up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A jury trial is set to begin in August.