Two former managers of a Georgia peanut plant whose testimony helped prosecutors convict their boss and send him to prison for selling salmonella-tainted food will soon learn their own sentences.
Sammy Lightsey and Danny Kilgore both served as operations manager of the Blakely, Georgia, plant linked in 2009 to salmonella that sickened 714 people and was blamed for nine deaths. They face sentencing Thursday, Oct. 1 by U.S. District Court Judge Louis Sands.
Both men pleaded guilty and testified against their boss, former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell, who was convicted last year of shipping tainted peanut products and faking results of lab tests for salmonella.
Parnell was sentenced last week to 28 years in prison, the stiffest criminal penalty ever for a U.S. producer in a food-borne illness case.
Under the deal, Lightsey agreed to plead guilty to seven counts and testify agains the other three named in the indictment when the case went to trial in July 2014. In exchange, the government dropped 69 other counts against Lightsey and agreed to cap his potential prison time at six years.
Kilgore, who managed operations at the Blakely plant, was originally charged in a 29-count solo indictment filed ahead of the charges against the other four defendants. He was the first to sign a plea agreement with the prosecution. Kilgore agreed to plead guilty to all counts in exchange for a promise from the U.S. Attorney to cap his potential prison time at 12 years.