St. Rita's owners plead not guilty

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The owners of St. Rita's nursing home, where 35 residents died following Hurricane Katrina, have pleaded not guilty to charges of negligent homicide and cruelty to the infirm.

Salvador and Mabel Mangano had been booked with negligent homicide shortly after the Aug. 29, 2005, storm, but they were not been charged officially until late last month. The two were allowed to remain free on bail following the arraignment hearing.

In September, the Manganos sued the government alleging that federal, state and local officials failed to keep residents safe and evacuate vulnerable citizens in preparation for the storm.