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Grandfather who dropped his 18-month-old granddaughter 150ft to her death from a cruise ship avoids jail

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A Grandfather who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide after dropping his 18-month-old granddaughter from an 11th-story window of a cruise ship has avoided jail. 

Salvatore ‘Sam’ Anello, of Valparaiso, Indiana, was sentenced Monday to three years´ probation, according to justice officials, following the death of Chloe Wiegand. 

Anello was aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruises´ Freedom of the Seas ship with family in July 2019 when it was docked in Puerto Rico. 

He has said he did not know the window in the children´s play area was open and that he lifted 18-month-old Chloe up before she fell so she could knock on the glass as she had done at her brother´s hockey games.

Anello pleaded guilty in the case in October 2020. Defense attorney Michael Winkleman has said Anello would serve probation in his home state. 

The girl´s parents, Alan and Kimberly Wiegand, sued Royal Caribbean in a civil case that is still ongoing. 

Anello told he felt a ‘mixture of anger and relief’ following the sentencing, adding, “I always thought this was a wall of glass.”

He said Monday, “[I feel] relief that I will serve no jail time and that I did not have to admit any facts. Relief for my family so that we can close this chapter and move on together.

“I feel angry at Royal Caribbean because it is clear that these windows never should have been allowed to have been opened in the first place.

“I always thought this was a wall of glass. There was no indication to me that some of the glass panels in this wall of glass could even open. 

“I decided not to contest these charges, even though I know I committed no crime, because I would not have to admit any facts or suffer any significant penalty. 

“It was a choice of focusing our resources and deciding the best path to tell Chloe’s story and devote our family’s energy was in the civil case. I miss you so much, Chloe.” 

Read more on our Metro News Page

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