Dr. Daniel Baldi has been acquitted on charges of involuntary manslaughter, including one in association with the 2010 death of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray, The Des Moines Register reports. A jury deliberated for two days before deciding that prosecutors failed to prove that Baldi was reckless and wrote prescriptions that led to his patients' deaths. Baldi still faces several malpractice suits, including some related to patients who were at the center of the criminal trial.
Initially, Baldi faced nine charges of involuntary manslaughter, but Judge Gregory Brandt dismissed two of the claims early in the trial. Brandt then told prosecution that it would have to prove that Baldi practiced medicine so recklessly that he would have been aware that he could kill someone. One juror, a multimedia designer for The Des Moines Register, said that he expected Baldi to be acquitted; he said one of the defense's strongest points was defense attorney Guy Cook's repeated contention that patients are responsible for taking their medication properly.
Paul Gray's widow, Brenna, took the stand in April and claimed that Baldi continued to prescribe Xanax to her husband while knowing that Gray had a history of abusing it. She also said that Baldi reduced Gray's Xanax dosage in the months leading up to his death of an overdose of morphine and fentanyl in May 2010.
"You understand, do you not, ma'am, that if Paul got the morphine and the fentanyl on the street somewhere, that it's nobody's fault except Mr. Gray or the person he got it from?" Baldi's lawyer asked Brenna at one juncture.
"I don't know where he got them," she said. "It's a hypothetical question. It's not fair."
Since Gray's death, Slipknot's members have worked on non-Slipknot albums, but have yet to release a follow-up to the group's most recent release, 2008's All Hope Is Gone. In February, NME reported that Slipknot had begun work on their next record. "I can say that, to me – and this is only my opinion – it's a cross between [2001's] Iowa and [2004's] Volume 3, but that's honestly just scratching the surface," frontman Corey Taylor said. "I think the fans are going to be very, very excited when they hear this stuff."