Barry Cadden, the NECC owner was sentenced today. He will face nine years in federal prison, the maximum sentence for the charges brought against him according to the judge.
According to the New York Times, he was found not guilty of second-degree murder back in April over the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that left more than 60 dead and 732 sickened. He was accused of knowing about the filthy conditions present in the New England Compounding Center (NECC), but was ultimately acquitted of those charges and only found guilty on 52 counts of mail fraud.
The case led to a public outcry which created tighter restrictions on compounding pharmacists and increased public scrutiny. The Drug Quality & Security Act (DQSA) was instituted to help protect the public—a move that compounding pharmacists have criticized.
Recently, news about the trial has left some wondering about verdict of the case. As NPR reported, jurors in the trial may not have been unanimous in their decision to acquit Cadden of second-degree murder, with many counts leaning toward guilty.
The confusion comes after the jury’s verdict forms were released. Instead of the traditional check mark next to “guilty” or “not guilty,” the showed the numbers of jurors who voted either way. Most of the tallies were four for not guilty, eight for guilty.
The judge in the case, Judge Richard Stearns, did not discuss the apparent lack of a unanimous decision. Without a unanimous decision, no verdict could have been reached. The judge has not revealed the names of the jurors since the trial, a standard practice barring any threats to the judicial process, such as the jurors’ safety. During sentencing, U.S. Attorney George Varghese argued that the court should consider the 21 counts where jurors seemed to lean toward guilty.
The jury foreman told NPR that the jurors understood that if there was not a unanimous vote for guilty then the verdict was not guilty.
The sentencing hearing was lengthy, as many of the NECC victims spoke. Prosecutors sought $132.8 million, which they said amounted to all profits made off the tainted drugs, as well as 35 years in prison. Cadden’s defense lawyers called for a three-year sentence.
Many of the victims called for the harshest possible sentence in their statements. Said one victim, Rachelle Shuff, "I will die in prison in my body slowly and in anguish, and he should die in prison."
Cadden was reportedly remorseful during the sentencing hearing. “I am so sorry for your extraordinary loss,” Cadden said. “The reality haunts me now and will for the rest of my life.”
Cadden is free under supervision until August 7, when he is to report to federal prison.