Judge dismissed criminal charges against a Kansas water park owner and the designer of a 17-storey slide on which a 10-year-old boy was decapitated in 2016.
Wyandotte County Judge Robert Burns second-degree murder charges against Schlitterbahn owner Jeff Henry, designer John Schooley, and general contractor Henry and Sons Construction Co.
Kansas City Star
They were charged after Caleb Schwab died while riding the waterslide, which was marketed as the world's tallest slide.
"Judge Robert Burns said. "Quite simply, these defendants were not afforded the due process protection and fundamental fairness Kansas law requires." Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement that his office, which was prosecuted the case, was disappointed and "respectfully disagrees" with Burns' ruling.
"We will review the ruling carefully, including the court's observation that the ruling does not preclude the possibility that the state could continue to pursue this matter in a criminal court," and take a fresh look at the evidence of this tragic and troubling case for the best course forward, "Schmidt said.
Caleb was killed on the verruckt ̵
"Obviously that the circumstances and events giving rise to these indictments are indisputably tragic," Burns said. said. "A young child's life was lost and his death was mourned by family, friends and the entire Kansas City community."
Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in a statement, "We welcome today's decision which dismissed the charges against all We have been thankful for all the support and encouragement we've received. "The Kansas waterslide. Photo / AP ” src=”data:image/png;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPAAAOrq6v///yH5BAAAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw==” data-srcset=”//www.nzherald.co.nz/resizer/t0sZyTzWbvRDUtgbdNl8YfpVpdk=/320×206/smart/filters:quality(70)/arc-anglerfish-syd-prod-nzme.s3.amazonaws.com/public/C7JHTJG2HFF33LADGTQRG66J24.jpg 320w,//www.nzherald.co.nz/resizer/OMFFtjIK0P3ZZxPqhwdjZnms9UM=/375×241/smart/filters:quality(70)/arc-anglerfish-syd-prod-nzme.s3.amazonaws.com/public/C7JHTJG2HFF33LADGTQRG66J24.jpg 375w,//www.nzherald.co.nz/resizer/QlfIu5sYX_2Nkcfzo3Km-_Hjczo=/620×399/smart/filters:quality(70)/arc-anglerfish-syd-prod-nzme.s3.amazonaws.com/public/C7JHTJG2HFF33LADGTQRG66J24.jpg 620w”/>
The evidence included video from the Travel Channel show documentary construction of the Verruckt, in which Henry and others emphasized the risks to riders on a raft dropping 17 stories before climbing a second, 15.24m hump. Lawyers argued the show was scripted for entertainment, showing flying boats. They did not fly, but it showed boats flying up in a similar manner to how Caleb died.
The state argued that it was up to the jury to determine what was true and said the travel channel video should be presented at trial.
Defendants also claimed jurors repeatedly stated that the waters were not built to standards established by ASTM International, which might have jurors to conclude the water park was breaking the law. But Kansas law didn't require the damage to those standards at the time of Caleb's death. The legislature toughened state involving inspections and requirements after the boy died
Lawyers also argued the grand jury should not have heard about another death at a park in Texas because it is not relevant to what happened here. Caleb and his father, Scott Schwab, were at the park for a special day for state lawmakers. Schwab was elected Kansas secretary of state in November.
Caleb's family received nearly US $ 20 million in settlements. The two women with Caleb on the raft set for an undisclosed amount.