LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – The Colorado farmers responsible for a deadly Listeria outbreak were sentenced on Tuesday, and the family of one of the victims is finding a way to forgive them.
Elaine and Herbert Stevens of Littleton had been married for 60 years.
Herbert Stevens died in 2011, 19 months after eating a Listeria-tainted cantaloupe from King Soopers.
“I get up in the morning and I have only one person to take care of and that’s me,” said Elaine.
Stevens was one of 33 people who died in the nationwide Listera outbreak linked to Colorado’s Jensen Farms.
Ryan and Eric Jensen walked away from Denver Federal Court on Tuesday with no jail time. A judge ruled the brothers had not meant to harm anyone.
Stevens’ family agreed with the ruling.
“Before I knew who they were and was able to hear their side of the story, I just thought they were very sloppy farmers that were cutting corners. But that’s not the case,” said Stevens’ daughter Jennifer Exley.
Exley said her family met with the Jensens and believed the brothers were genuinely remorseful and were not at fault.
However she understands why some families were outraged.
“I do respect their opinion that some of the families are still very angry about the loss of their loved ones, and that the Jensens should serve some jail time. But I don’t see where jail time would have done anybody any good,” said Exley.
As the Stevens family mourns the loss of a husband, father and grandfather, they said the Jensen brothers have suffered enough.
“It took me a while to forgive them but I am very faithful and forgiving,” said another family member.
The Jensens were sentenced to five years probation and six months in home detention. They will also pay a fine and perform 100 hours of community service.