Tainted Peanut Butter Could Result in Life Sentence for Plant's Owner

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Prosecutors have recommended a life sentence for the former owner of the Peanut Corporation of America, Stewart Parnell.

Parnell was convicted last year of knowingly shipping out Salmonella contaminated peanut butter.

Prosecutors were unable to directly tie Parnell to the nine deaths and 700 illnesses that fell directly into the time slot of Parnell's actions. His crimes were felonies that included conspiracy, obstruction of justice and wire fraud.

The case against Stewart Parnell, his brother Michael Parnell, and a second co-defendant are the first of its kind. There has never been a federal case that has gone to trial related to food-poisoning.

Investigators found Peanut Corporation plants to be in deplorable shape - they discovered one with a leaky roof as well as an infestation of roaches. The defendants were found guilty of faking lab results to ensure they would not suffer a loss on the tainted product.

The sentencing guidelines for the defendants range from 20 years to life in prison.