By Walter F. Roche Jr.
BOSTON, Mass.- Jurors considering the murder and racketeering charges against a former drug company adjourned shortly after 2 p.m. today, but not before asking for clarification on a critical issue.
In a brief session before U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns the jury considering the case against Barry J. Cadden asked questions indicating they are grappling with a decision on whether Cadden's actions could be considered second degree murder or negligence.
Stearns told them negligent conduct is failing to act as a prudent person would under the circumstances.
"What would a prudent man do under the same circumstances," he said.
He said there was a higher threshold for second degree murder in which a person acts in a way that he or she knows is likely to cause death or serious injury.
Cadden, the former president of the now defunct New England Compounding Center has been charged with racketeering and 25 counts of second degree murder. If the jury were to decide Cadden was negligent that would not meet the requirements for a racketeering charge.
Additional racketeering charges, however, would remain.
The jurors will resume their deliberations Monday morning.
Cadden is the first to go to trial in charges stemming from the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak