By IVAN PEREIRA and DOUGLAS LANTZ, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — The Indiana man who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide after his young granddaughter fell from an 11th-story window of a cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico was sentenced Monday to three years probation.
Salvatore “Sam” Anello, of Valparaiso, Indiana, was holding 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand up to the window of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship during a July 2019 trip when she slipped from his grasp and fell about 150 feet to her death, investigators said.
Anello has contended that he did not know that the window was open, but made a deal in October with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to negligent homicide.
“I always thought this was a wall of glass. There was no indication to me that some of the glass panels in this wall of glass could even open,” Anello said in a statement Monday.
He will serve out his probation in Indiana, according to his attorneys.
Anello and Chloe’s family have blamed Royal Caribbean for the child’s death and have repeatedly said the company and its crews didn’t do enough to secure the boat. The Wiegand family has filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean and accused the company of negligence.
“Responsible corporations follow simple steps that save children’s lives, such as limiting a window opening to no more than 4 inches. Herein, Royal Caribbean did nothing to protect Chloe from this known danger,” Michael Winkleman, an attorney for the Wiegand family said in a statement.
In a statement sent to ABC News, a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean said, “This was a tragic incident, and our hearts go out to the family. Out of respect for the family’s privacy during this very sad time, we have no further comment.”
The civil case is tentatively scheduled to begin on April 26, according to Winkleman.
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