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Double-Death Case Against Farmer Begins in Merced

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Prosecutors in Merced are arguing today that the deaths of two young workers who drowned in cow waste could have been prevented.

Dairy farmer Patrick Joseph Faria has been charged in Merced County Superior Court with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deaths of Enrique Araisa and Jose Alatorre three years ago.

Alatorre had gone into a 30-foot deep pit filled with liquid manure to unclog a pipe.

He yelled to other workers, but was quickly overcome by methane gas, fell into the liquid waste and drowned.

Araiza climbed in to help him, but was also knocked out by the fumes and died.