Convicted Ga. peanut executives to request vacated or shortened sentences

Stewart (left) and Michael (right in white shirt) Parnell during the salmonella outbreak trial.
Stewart (left) and Michael (right in white shirt) Parnell during the salmonella outbreak trial.(WALB)
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 10:10 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Two brothers that prosecutors said sparked the largest food recall in American history, killing nine people and sickening hundreds by making tainted peanut butter, are asking their sentences be vacated.

Attorneys for Stewart Parnell and his brother Michael Parnell have until next month to submit motions to vacate, set aside or correct their sentences for food safety violations.

The brothers are currently in federal prison after their 2014 trial where they were found guilty of deliberately sending peanut butter, tainted with salmonella, into the food system.

In 2008, the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) traced a nationwide salmonella outbreak to the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely. During a raid, the plant was found to be infested with rats, roaches and water leaks.

Owner Stewart was found guilty of 72 counts of conspiracy and fraud, and sentenced to 28 years in federal prison. Michael, a food broker, was found guilty of conspiracy and sentenced to 20 years.

Their attorneys are claiming the Parnell’s had ineffective attorneys at their trial who should have demanded a change of venue.

The Parnell’s new attorneys must submit written motions by next month to an Albany federal magistrate and then the prosecution will respond.

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