Monday, November 12, 2007

Guilty of Elder Abuse


Wappapello woman pleads in mom’s death

Associate Editor DAR Newspaper, Poplar Bluff, MO.

IRONTON — A Wappapello woman pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon in Iron County to a manslaughter charge in connection with the January 2006 death of her mother.
Theresa L. Cespedes pleaded guilty to the Class C felony
of first-degree involuntary
before Circuit Judge William Camm Seay, according to Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca
Burns, who filed an amended
information with the court prior to Cespedes’ plea.
The amended information alleges on Jan. 29, 2006, Cespedes “recklessly caused the death of Eula Mae Hendon … by failing to seek medical attention.”
Hendon, 64, was found dead Jan. 29, 2006, at the rural Wappapello residence she shared with her daughter and three grandchildren.
Authorities reported Hendon, at the time of her death, was malnourished and the living conditions in her bedroom
were filthy.
An autopsy showed Hendon died of pneumonia and hardening of the arteries. Medical records reportedly indicated Hendon had not received medical treatment since 2003.
According to Burns, Cespedes was sentenced to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, with suspended execution of the sentence and placed on five years’
supervised probation.
“Special terms and conditions are to be set by Probation and Parole,” Burns said.
The 40-year-old entered her plea during what was supposed to be a pretrial motions hearing in her case.
Cespedes, who has been in jail since her February arrest, was supposed to stand trial Dec. 4 and 5 on the Class A felonies of second-degree murder
and first-degree elder abuse and
the Class C felony of felonious restraint.
“I made the offer (Wednesday) night; the defense was agreeable” to the plea, said Burns, who feels it was a “successful resolution” to the case.
Hendon’s grandchildren, Melissa Ann Thompson, David J. Cespedes and Jose M. Cespedes Jr., pleaded guilty in April to a Class A misdemeanor of third-degree elder abuse in connection with her death.
The trio was accused of intentionally failing to “provide care, goods and services to Eula Mae Hendon, by failing to seek medical attention between July 7, 2003, and Jan. 29, 2006, thereby causing (their grandmother) physical or emotional distress.”

DAR Newspaper 11/10/2007


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