Pharmacist to stand trial this fall for 11 Michigan meningitis deaths after plea deal talks fail

A pharmacist accused of second-degree murder in connection with the 2012 meningitis outbreak that resulted in the deaths of 11 individuals in Michigan will face trial this fall, as determined by a judge on Friday. The outbreak was traced back to contaminated steroids originating from a lab in Massachusetts.

Glenn Chin and state prosecutors have been unable to reach a plea bargain, according to Livingston County Judge Matthew McGivney. Jury selection has been scheduled for November 4th.

Michigan has taken the unique step of charging both Chin and Barry Cadden, an executive at the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, for deaths connected to the outbreak.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tainted steroids that were shipped to pain clinics resulted in over 700 people in 20 states falling ill with fungal meningitis or other debilitating illnesses. Sadly, dozens of individuals lost their lives due to this outbreak.

The investigators found that the lab’s “clean room,” where steroids were prepared and staff typically wore coveralls and hairnets, was filled with mold, insects, and cracks. Chin was in charge of overseeing the production in this area.

Chin, who is 56 years old, is currently in federal prison serving a 10 1/2-year sentence. He was convicted in 2017 following a trial in Boston for racketeering, fraud, and other crimes related to the outbreak.

“I deeply regret that this ever happened,” he expressed during his federal sentencing.

James Buttrey, Chin’s attorney, chose not to provide any comments outside of the court on Friday.

During the status hearing in April, Buttrey informed the prosecutor that Chin had expressed concerns about the possibility of a plea deal in Michigan that could result in him being held in custody beyond his federal sentence.

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Chin’s lawyers have consistently argued against the appropriateness of second-degree murder charges, but unfortunately, their arguments have been unsuccessful thus far.

Attorney Kevin Gentry informed the state Supreme Court in 2022 that a second-degree murder charge stemming from a products liability case is unprecedented in the country. Gentry stated, “Certainly, this is a novel idea in Michigan.”

Cadden, aged 57, has been sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison following his plea of no contest to involuntary manslaughter. As a result, the second-degree murder charges against him have been dismissed.

Cadden’s sentence in Michigan will coincide with his 14 1/2-year federal sentence, and he will also receive credit for the time he has already spent in custody since 2018. This ultimately suggests that he may not have to serve any extra time in prison, which is a source of frustration for the families of the victims.

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