The grandfather accused of having dropped Indiana toddler Chloe Wiegand to death from a cruise ship window is on trial in April.
Salvatore ‘Sam’ Anello is confronted with an accusation of negligent murder over the fatal dive of the little girl from the 11th deck of the Freedom of the Seas as he reported in Puerto Rico last July.
Anello was in San Juan on Monday to say that he wants a bank trial before a judge instead of a jury.
In a black suit, a white shirt and a blue tie with a pattern, Anello listened attentively to the Spanish-language proceedings through an interpreter before his lawyer José Guillermo Perez Ortiz sent his request.
“Yes, yes, I understand,” Anello repeated in English, when Judge Gisela Alfonso Fernandez asked him to confirm that he did not want a jury.
The judge gave Perez Ortiz more time to prepare a defense for the older IT employee, but said the trial will continue on April 2 and last four days.
Salvatore Anello asked on Monday for a bench trial in the prosecution of the death of his granddaughter Chloe Wiegand. The test starts on 2 April and lasts four days
The older IT employee has consistently protested against his innocence about the fatal dive of 18-month-old Chloe from the 11th deck of the Freedom of the Seas when he docked there last July. He is pictured at the court on Monday
Careless murder is a crime, but can be punished with a three-year prison sentence under Puerto Rican criminal law.
But if Anello is found guilty, prosecutors are likely to recommend a probationary period that can be completed in his native Indiana, DailyMail.com has learned.
Chloe’s parents Alan and Kimberly Wiegand pleaded with the Puerto Rican authorities to stop the prosecution, instead blaming cruise operator Royal Caribbean for the death of their 18-month-old daughter.
The grieving couple from South Bend, Indiana, is suing the company in a separate civil trial, claiming there are no signs or notices to warn Anello that the “glass wall” he was holding Chloe against locked windows that could be slid open.
When the silver-haired grandfather lifted the little girl to make her pound on the glass as she liked at her brother’s ice hockey games, Chloe fell overboard and died immediately when she landed 150 feet lower on the Pan American Pier 2.
Although the windows have handles and a blue-green tint, the suit says that it was more difficult for Anello to distinguish between a glass pane and thin air because it is color blind.
Pictured: the tragic last photo of Chloe before she fell 150ft from her grandfather’s arms
Video footage shows the moment when Anello Chloe, 18 months, dropped from the cruise ship. He falls to the ground in shock and horror as he sees Chloe fall dead after she has lifted her to look out of a window. Royal Caribbean says that Anello should only have used his ‘basic senses’ to appreciate the danger to Chloe
Careless murder is a crime, but can be punished with a three-year prison sentence under Puerto Rican criminal law. But if Anello is found guilty, prosecutors are likely to recommend a probationary period that can be completed in his native Indiana, DailyMail.com has learned
Police officer Alan (41) and his lawyer wife Kimberly (37) can claim ‘unlimited’ pain and mental suffering damage if their lawsuit filed with the Miami federal court succeeds.
However, they say their only motivation is to force Royal Caribbean to make their windows safer on the Freedom of the Seas, so that the fatal fall of Chloe is never repeated.
Royal Caribbean tried unsuccessfully to have the case thrown away and presented gripping video footage of Chloe’s final moments to claim that Anello stuck his head through the window and ‘unquestionably’ knew it was open.
The company denies violating industrial safety standards and insisted that Anello only had to rely on his “basic senses” to realize that he was endangering his beloved granddaughter.
Angelic Chloe and her grandfather were about to start a seven-day Caribbean cruise with her parents, older brother, fraternal grandparents and Anello’s wife Patricia, when the tragedy occurred on July 7 last year.
Their vacation would take in the sun-drenched sights of San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados, but it ended in horror before the $ 800m ship even left.
Chasing camera footage of the incident shows Anello alone on deck with Chloe leading her grandfather away from the H20 zone splash pool to the glass sides of the ship.
Royal Caribbean has tried in vain to have the case thrown away, with gripping video footage of Chloe’s final moments to claim that Anello stuck his head through the window and “unquestionably” knew it was open
Meanwhile, Chloe’s parents Alan and Kimberly Wiegand (photo) have been with Anello and still believe that Royal Caribbean is ultimately responsible for her death
He lifts the toddler and sits down on a wooden railing, but suddenly she falls forward and disappears from view.
The little girl was dead by the time the ship’s doctor, Marcel Alexander Armand Van Drunick, found her on the dock with multiple traumatic injuries.
“About halfway through the pier we saw the body of a baby lying on the pier. It was an 18-month-old female baby with her face down and suffering from multiple traumatic injuries. There was no life, “Van Drunick told the police in a statement likely to appear in the Anello trial.
“Her one pink shoe and white hat were on the pier, not far from the deceased. I immediately called for a sheet to cover the body. “Van Drunick said he heard screams coming from the 11th deck of the ship and was confronted with a scene of” chaos. ” “The grandfather dropped to his hands and knees in the corner of the elevator. He was sobbing, crying, and said, “I dropped my baby, I dropped my baby.” “I leaned over and asked him what happened. While he was crying, he just said, “I thought the window was closed.” “
The doctor’s account is consistent with the only media interview Anello has given.
“I only know that I was trying to reach the glass and I know we are leaning forward trying to make her reach the glass, at that moment she was slipping,” he told CBS.
“Chloe who’s gone is the worst ever, so I’m so sure, you know. There is nothing worse that they can do to me than what has already happened. “