Louisiana facility owners charged with negligent homicide

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The owners of a St. Bernard Parish nursing home where 34 residents died in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina have been charged with 34 counts of negligent homicide.

Mable B. Mangano, owner and administrator of St. Rita's nursing home, and Salvador A. Mangano, a co-owner, surrendered and were jailed. Each count carries up to five years in prison.

"When we decide we're going to put ourselves in harm's way, we do it voluntarily and it's our problem. But you can't do it when you have the care and control and custody of patients," Attorney General Charles Foti said Tuesday, according to a news report.

The Manganos declined an offer from St. Bernard Parish authorities of buses to evacuate their residents. They also an existing contract with an ambulance service but did not use it, the state said.

The 34 dead residents were found in recent days in an advanced state of decomposition, Foti said. The residents are believed to have drowned when the floodwaters rose to the ceiling at the facility.