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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Rafael Olmeda

Florida nursing home trial delayed as defense seeks dismissal of charges in 2017 hurricane-related deaths

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The last remaining defendant in the Hollywood Hills nursing home manslaughter case won’t be going to trial this month after all.

Defense lawyers had filed a speedy trial demand for Jorge Carballo, one of the top administrators at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where a dozen elderly patients died from sweltering conditions after Hurricane Irma in 2017.

But a judge struck the demand after defense lawyers conceded they are not ready to face a jury just yet.

The hurricane left the nursing home without working air conditioning, and prosecutors say Carballo’s neglect as temperatures soared constituted a criminal act. He’s been charged with 12 counts of aggravated manslaughter.

Defense lawyers have said Carballo and others at the nursing home worked hard to care for the ailing patients, and that the state and Florida Power & Light share in the blame for what happened.

Carballo was originally one of four defendants in the case, but prosecutors dropped charges against the other three last month. They are now on the prosecution witness list, though there was no deal to secure their testimony.

Defense lawyers have since added witnesses to their own list and filed a motion to dismiss the case against Carballo. Both moves would have been impossible had jury selection begun Tuesday as scheduled, prosecutors argued.

Defense lawyer David Frankel agreed, and the speedy trial demand was stricken.

Broward Circuit Judge Joseph Murphy will hear arguments on the motion to dismiss, and set a future tentative trial date, on Oct. 28.


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