The grandfather of Chloe Wiegand, the 18-month-old who fell 11 stories to her death from a Royal Caribbean ship, will plead guilty to negligent homicide, a family attorney revealed.
Salvatore Anello initially pleaded not guilty to the charges from the Puerto Rican authorities over the incident, which occurred in July 2019 onboard Freedom of the Seas.
Over the past few weeks, CCTV footage has been leaked to the media which shows Mr Anello and Chloe at the window moments before her death.
Royal Caribbean have said it shows Mr Anello knew the window was open.
In court documents, the line maintained: “This is case about an adult man who, as surveillance footage unquestionably confirms: walked up to a window he was aware was open; leaned his upper body out the window for several seconds; reached down and picked up Chloe; then held her out of the open window for 34 seconds before he lost his grip and dropped Chloe out of the window.”
The line described his actions as “reckless and irresponsible”.
Michael Winkleman, the attorney for the Wiegand family, told NBC News on Tuesday that Anello filed paperwork to change his plea in return for an agreement that included no jail time.
According to Mr Winkleman, Anello will be able to serve out his probation in Indiana.
Mr Winkleman told NBC News the deal “is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter and turn their focus to mourning Chloe.”
In December, the Wiegand family filed a federal civil action in December against Royal Caribbean, alleging the company was at fault for the accident. A federal judge approved the suit after Royal Caribbean sought to block it.
The family claim they are suing because the cruise line didn’t “adequately mark the open windows so that they are apparent to passengers.”
The family claimed that Anello carried Chloe up to the window to bang on the glass, when she slipped from his hands and fell 11 stories onto a pier while the ship was docked in Puerto Rico.
They have also said Anello is colourblind so there’s no way he could have seen, without warning signs, that the green-tinted windows on the upper deck near the kids’ play area was open.
Royal Caribbean maintains that it has photos and videos that show Anello leaning out the window, and that he must have known that it was open when Chloe fell to her death.
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