A Polk County jury has returned a not guilty verdict in the manslaughter trial of a Des Moines doctor.
Dr. Daniel Baldi was being tried on seven counts of involuntary manslaughter for the drug-related deaths of seven former patients. Three other counts of involuntary manslaughter were dropped during the trial.
Baldi was visibly emotional as he was found not guilty on all seven charges.
The jury began deliberating Tuesday afternoon and reached its verdict Thursday.
Prosecutors in the case said Dr. Baldi over-prescribed pain killers leading to deadly overdoses.
"The evidence in this case shows the defendant acted recklessly how he treated these patients and as a result they died,” prosecutor Celene Gogerty told the jury in closing statements.
The defense claimed the patients who died did not have drugs prescribed by Baldi in their systems at the time of their deaths.
Defense attorney Guy Cook addressed the jury during closing arguments, saying "Dr. Baldi is not guilty of each and every one of these cases, he did his best, he is not reckless, even if you think he did not do his best, what he did, did not cause the death of these patients."
After two full days of deliberations, the jury agreed.
“I’m happy it’s done. I can turn this chapter over and start another part of my life,” Dr. Baldi told Channel 13.
When asked what the first thing he’s going to do, he responded, “I’m going to sleep.”
Dr. Baldi says he will wait to make a decision on whether to practice again.
“I don’t know,” Bald said, “I love practicing, I love medicine and I love everything associated with it.”
Baldi’s attorney Guy Cook called the case sad and said he had empathy for the families of the deceased. Adding, “But this man had nothing to do with and the jury has vindicated him in that regard today.”
Baldi’s medical license has been suspended until the outcome of the trial. A decision whether it will be reinstated has yet to be made.