Chin is Not Guilty of Murder, According to Jurors
Glenn Chin, a pharmacist at a center responsible for inciting a countrywide fungal meningitis outbreak leading to the demise of 76 people, has been cleared of murder. However, jurors still convicted him of mail fraud and racketeering.
Jurors ultimately felt prosecutors failed to prove that Chin was responsible for the deaths of the individuals who were injected with mold-laden drugs at the former New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts. Chin oversaw the clean rooms, as they were called, where the drugs were manufactured.
Chin’s attorney Stephen Weymouth called the jury’s verdict a victory, claiming prosecutors took the case too far in charging his client with second-degree murder. “This was never, ever, ever — no matter what these prosecutors tell you — this was never a murder case,” Weymouth proclaimed. He added there was no way jurors could have convicted Chin because there was no evidence he had caused the drugs to become contaminated.
However, surviving family members of the victims don’t see it the same way. “It was his hand, no doubt, that mixed that medicine that killed mom,” said Scott Shaw, son of Elwina Shaw who passed after being injected with mold. The fungal meningitis outbreak was linked to injections of medical steroids typically administered to patients experience back pain.
Experts and even Chin’s attorney had said before the trial proceedings they believed prosecutors had a stronger case against Chin than they had against the pharmacy’s co-founder Barry Cadden, who was said to have treated employees poorly and ordered them to cut corners in order to increase production and profits. Chin was more likely to be pinned for murder because he was the one mixing the drugs in the clean rooms.
Jurors acquitted Cadden of second-degree murder under the federal racketeering law but found him guilty of fraud and conspiracy. Cadden was sentenced to nine years in prison.
“Mr. Chin ran NECC’s clean room operations with depraved disregard for human lives,” Acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said. “As a licensed pharmacist, Chin took an oath to protect patients, but instead deliberately violated safety regulations.”
More than 700 people across 20 states contracted the illness, and the outbreak was considered the worst public health crisis in recent U.S. history. The tragedy led to calls for increased regulations of pharmacies such as the one at which Chin was employed. These compounding pharmacies differ from more common drugstores in that they custom-mix medications and supply them to physicians and hospitals.
Prosecutors said Chin routinely instructed his pharmacy staff to use expired ingredients in compounds, failed to adequately sterilize drugs and ignored findings of mold and other bacteria when they were brought to his attention. Yet, all of this was still not enough for a murder conviction.
At the conclusion of the trial, Chin was charged with the deaths of 25 people across numerous states, including Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. He would have faced up to life in prison had he been convicted of murder. He will be formally sentenced in January.