3 Walmart employees charged with manslaughter in death of shoplifter

Jazzy

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Three Walmart workers in Florida have been charged with manslaughter in the February death of a shoplifter, police said Friday.

They are accused of suffocating Kenneth Wisham, 64, after he tried to steal $380 worth of DVDs in a shopping cart from the Walmart on North Road 98 in Lakeland Feb. 7, Fox 13 Tampa reported.

The station reported that the employees chased Wisham, who fell. They then held him on the ground.

As he was being restrained, Wisham stopped breathing. The employees called 911 and an ambulance took him to the hospital, where he died, the station reported.

Lakeland police said Friday that criminal charges were warranted after the coroner ruled that Wisham died of mechanical asphyxia and that he had suffered 15 broken ribs.

Charged were Nathan Higgins, 35, a support manager, Crucelis Nunez, 23, a customer service manager, and Ruandall Tooko, 58, who works in loss prevention.

They were taken into custody Thursday.

A police affidavit quotes a witness as saying she saw Nunez knock Wisham to the ground and then pummel him with her fists.

Her accound differed from Nunez's.

She told cops that she “nudged” Wisham as it appeared he was about to fall.

According to the affidavit, Nunez also said she heard Wisham say, “Let me go, I didn’t do anything” and later say, “I can’t breathe.”

Walmart suspended the three employees in February as police investigated Wisham's death.
Thoughts?
 

Bluezone777

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One thing people probably don't think about is the likelihood that this man was robbing this store for a while as one simply doesn't all of a sudden get the urge to drive over to a Wal-mart to steal this much unless they have been doing it for a while. It's interesting that these three are getting possible punishment for this but if these three were police officers than there would likely be no investigation or at least not one that led to any convictions. If these three get put into jail then it's going to send the signal to never bother stopping any thief in a Wal-Mart or any other store of its kind. It's not worth your job and your freedom to care that people are robbing the place you work at.

I wouldn't be surprised if this old man made a career out of selling stolen movies to people who gladly ignore the obvious and pay for them because they are likely being sold for less than Wal-mart is selling them for.
 

APS

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I agree with most of what you say Bluezone777 but 15 broken ribs does not come under restrain in my book.
 

Bluezone777

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Well considering the age of the thief and the fact that him resisting likely drove them to pile on without thinking of such things as how their combined weight could break bones especially ribs so I doubt they did this out of a malicious intent to break bones but sadly is what came out of their attempt to restrain him. With three people who could likely weigh anywhere between 150-200 pounds a piece means that the combined weight would be 450 to 600 pounds which could cause that much injury without doing anything more than getting on top of him and holding down his arms and legs.

I suppose the question now is will a jury believe they committed manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt? I have the feeling any lawyer for these three is going to be able to instill enough doubt to prevent a conviction from happening. Defense lawyers don't need to win their case(prove that they are not guilty) only throw enough monkey wrenches into the prosecution to derail their case.

I suppose in any case we will need to see what the courts say when they bring this to trial. Seeing it took them five months to find enough evidence to arrest them suggests this won't be an easy case for the prosecution to win.
 
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