A grandfather who lifted his three-year-old granddaughter towards an open window, allowing her to fall to her death from the eleventh floor of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, is facing up to three years in prison for negligent homicide.

Salvatore “Sam” Anello, appeared in court in Puerto Rico, and a pre-trial conference is scheduled for December 17, although he may opt for a bench trial or one with a jury. Anello’s lawyers asked the judge if their client could be excused from attending the trial, but this was denied.

Puerto Rican officials believe Anello is responsible for his granddaughter’s death and must face justice, although it was a tragic accident. During his court appearance, Anello said, “They can’t do anything worse to me than has already happened.” Anello, an information technology worker from Valparaiso, Indiana, appeared sad when he arrived at San Juan Superior Court and did not speak to reporters.

Anello lifted his granddaughter towards an open window on the Freedom of the Seas while the ship was docked in San Juan on July 7, 2019. He did not realize the window was open, and the toddler fell to her death.

The incident horrified millions of parents and grandparents worldwide. Despite the charges, the deceased toddler’s parents, Alan and Kimberly Weigand have been supportive of Anello, the maternal grandfather, instead of blaming Royal Caribbean for their child’s death.

During his court appearance, Anello sat alone on a wooden bench while a court-appointed translator told him what was going on. He wore a black pinstripe suit and a checkered tie. Judge Gisela Alfonso Fernandez wanted to give both Anello and the prosecutors more time to prepare for the trial.

While the incident has been devastating for Anello, the Puerto Rican officials believe that he must face justice for what he allowed to happen to the child. Anello’s negligence led to his granddaughter’s death, according to prosecutors, who believe he should be held accountable for his actions.

Anello’s defense attorney, Jose Guillermo Perez Ortiz, asked the judge if his client could be excused from attending the trial. The judge responded, “In this type of case, it is mandatory to attend.”

The incident has raised concerns about safety measures on cruise ships and prompted some lawmakers to call for stricter regulations. While the toddler’s death was a tragic accident, it has prompted a review of the safety measures and policies that Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines implement on their ships.

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Source: AWM



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