Grandfather of Chloe Wiegand, Who Fell to Her Death on Cruise, Pleads Guilty but Will Not Do Time

Salvatore Anello and his granddaughter
CBS

The grandfather of Chloe Wiegand, the 18-month-old girl fell to her death from an open window on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, has pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, but will not face jail time, according to reports. 

Salvatore Annello announced in February he would accept a plea deal in connection to the death of his granddaughter, who died in July 2019 after she fell 11 stories from the window on the ship, docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She was being watched by her grandfather, who said he did not realize the window was open when he lifted up the young girl up, Inside Edition previously reported.

Anello was charged by Puerto Rican officials and initially pleaded not guilty but in February, he stated he would plead guilty to help his family move on from the tragedy, NBC News reported.

The young girl was with her mother in a children's water park area on the pools 11th deck when her mother had to leave to tend to another matter and asked Anello to watch her, the lawsuit filed by the family against the cruise line in Dec. 2019 said according to NBC. The family alleges that the company is at fault for Chloe's death, although the company has adamantly denied those allegations. In an interview last year with CBS, Anello said he was colorblind and suggested that may have been the reason he could not distinguish between the tinted closed window and the open window.

The Puerto Rican Department of Justice wrote in a statement Thursday that the judge accepted Anello's plea. His sentencing will be Dec. 10. Michael Winkelman, a lawyer for the Wiegand family said that the plea deal means Anello will avoid jail time and can serve probation from his home in South Bend, Indiana, the outlet reported.

"Because the plea agreement includes no jail time and no admission of facts, it was decided the plea deal is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter and turn their focus to mourning Chloe and fighting for cruise passenger safety by raising awareness about the need for all common carriers to adhere to window fall prevention laws designed to protect children from falling from windows," the lawyer said in a statement.

The family plans to move forward against Caribbean.  In an interview with Inside Edition last year the family said it was "not a freak accident" but a "preventable tragedy."

Winkleman told Inside Edition Digital that the lawsuit against the cruise ship is ongoing.

Neither Winkleman, nor Royal Caribbean, returned Inside Edition Digital's request for comment.

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