Samuel Lightsey, 52, the former manager of the now defunct Peanut Corporation of America processing plant in Blakely, GA, has moved into a Residential Re-entry Management facility in Atlanta a step toward his release from federal prison scheduled for Oct. 1.

Samuel Lightsey, left, and Stewart Parnell take the oath before testifying during a congressional hearing about the Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter and paste from the Peanut Corporation of America.

Lightsey received the lightest prison sentence among the five eanut Corporation of America (PCA) executives and managers who were sentenced to a total of 62 years in federal prison for charges stemming from PCA’s peanut butters and peanut pastes that were contaminated with Salmonella. The result was a nationwide Salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands and resulted in at least nine deaths.

Lightsey cut a deal with government attorneys that got him a 3-year sentence in exchange for being the prosecution’s star witness during a jury trial that ultimately convicted brothers Stewart Parnell and Michael Parnell along with Mary Wilkerson.

Steward Parnell, 62, the chief executive officer, was sentenced to 28 years and his peanut broker brother Michael Parnell, 58, was sentenced to 20 years. Wilkerson, 43, the quality control officer, is serving five years.

Unless the U.S. Court of Appears decides otherwise, Wilkerson is scheduled for release March 10, 2020. Daniel Kilgore, 48, with a release date of Jan.30, 2021. He was plant operations manager at the Blakely plant, and also agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. He got six years and also testified as a government witness.

Steward Parnell is not scheduled to get out of federal prison until Feb. 6, 2040. Michael Parnell’s release is set for Feb. 17, 2033, when the brothers will be, respectively, 86 and 75 years old.

They are currently serving in the federal correctional institutions in Estill, SC, and Milan, MI.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Residential Re-entry Management (RRM) program that now houses Lightsey keeps most of its inmates in residential re-entry centers, while some are in juvenile facilities, home confinement, short-term jail stays, and some are long-term boarders.

A total of 13, 467 federal offenders are currently in the RRM program.


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