Fifteen jurors will hear opening statements this morning in the federal racketeering trial of a Wrentham businessman accused of murdering 25 pain sufferers with mold-contaminated medication his pharmacy manufactured in filthy conditions and then shipped across the country in 2012. Prosecutors anticipate they will spend the next three to four months presenting evidence against former New England Compounding Center owner Barry J. Cadden, 50. Cadden faces life imprisonment if convicted.
The 25 counts of second-degree murder Cadden faces are a fraction of the 64 patients who died of fungal meningitis in 20 states. Another 700 — among them, residents of New Hampshire and Rhode Island — were stricken ill.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns ruled pretrial that the U.S. Attorney’s Office may “allude to the fact” that more than 25 people died, but cannot cite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on the national health tragedy.
In addition to racketeering and second-degree murder, Cadden, who is not in custody, is charged with mail fraud and introducing adulterated and misbranded drugs into commerce.
NECC’s supervising pharmacist, Glenn A. Chin, 48, of Canton, who faces the same charges as his former boss, will go on trial later this year. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
The company’s majority owner, Carla Conigliaro, and her husband, Douglas Conigliaro, pleaded guilty last year to illegally transferring assets as the feds were shutting NECC down and executing search warrants. Last week the couple paid off money judgments brought against them by Stearns totaling $124,249.