GROSSETO, Italy — The cruise ship captain accused of causing the deaths of 32 passengers and crew aboard the Costa Concordia made a tearful plea to judges Wednesday, saying he had lived through a “meatshredding media frenzy” since the disaster.
Francesco Schettino choked up as he asked for leniency moments before judges retired to consider their verdict in his 19-month trial.
The 54-year-old is accused of causing the Jan. 13, 2012 disaster near the Italian island of Giglio, manslaughter and abandoning ship before all 4,200 aboard were evacuated.
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Prosecutors said Tuesday that his failure to promptly order an evacuation of the ship was the sole reason 32 people died. Instead, it was "each man for himself," prosecutor Alessandro Leopizzi said.
Co-prosecutor Stefano Pizza described the defendant's conduct as "reprehensible." He urged for convictions on all counts and reiterated the prosecutors' request for a 26-year prison term.