Peanut executive in salmonella case faces prison for life

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By RUSS BYNUM
Associated Press

A former peanut company executive will soon learn if he will spend the rest of his life in prison for his role in a salmonella outbreak blamed for killing nine Americans and sickening hundreds more.

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A sentencing hearing is scheduled Monday in Albany, Georgia, for 61-year-old Stewart Parnell, former owner of Peanut Corporation of America, and two co-defendants. They were convicted a year ago in U.S. District Court.

Jurors found Parnell knowingly sold tainted peanut butter from his Georgia plant and faked results of lab tests intended to screen for salmonella. Court officers recommended a life sentence based on reports that the outbreak cost Parnell’s customers $144 million and sickened 714 people.

His brother, Michael Parnell, and the plant’s former quality control manager, Mary Wilkerson, also face prison sentences.

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