Fumigators in poisoning case to plead guilty

Posted at 12:15 PM, Feb 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-17 18:06:54-05

Lawyers for the fumigators accused of not using chemicals properly and poisoning 10-year-old Peyton McCaughey say their clients will plead guilty on federal charges and face jail time.

Grenale Williams and Canarie Deon Curry both appeared in federal court in Fort Pierce on Wednesday.

In court, they formally pleaded not guilty. But their attorneys were quick to point out they will change their pleas to guilty as soon as they are able to get a new hearing.

"We are working out the plea deal now, and it will involve jail time," Williams' attorney Craig Lawson said after court.

Curry's attorney Jack Fleischman also confirmed the plans for a plea deal.

Williams is the president and owner of Sunland Pest Control, and Curry was an employee there.

Count one is "Using a restricted use pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling."

The charging document says Sunland failed "to have two persons trained in the use of restricted use pesticides," "to aerate the fumigated space" and to "conduct a required clearance" with an approved and properly calibrated detection device."

Count two is "False Statement." The charging document says during the investigation by Florida's Department of Agriculture into the fumigation at the McCaughey home Sunland claimed the pesticide "Vikane was used, when in truth and in fact, a different restricted use pesticide, Zythor, was used."

It also says Sunland claimed that all label requirements of the pesticide were followed when "as the defendant then and there well knew, the label requirements were not followed."

Count one carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison. Count two carries a maximum of five years in prison.

The crimes Sunland Pest Control is charged with left Peyton McCaughey with "severe brain damage" according to his parents.

Sunland Pest Control is the company subcontracted by Terminix to fumigate the Palm City home of Peyton McCaughey in August 2015.

McCaughey's uncle said Wednesday that word of the planned guilty pleas does not help Peyton.

"If it doesn't help Peyton get better, than it doesn't really matter to us. But it's nice to see the process moving forward," Peyton's uncle Ed Gribben Jr. said.