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April 22, 2011

Jury Starts Deliberating in Elderly Manslaughter Trial (USA)

Jury Starts Deliberating in Elderly Manslaughter Trial

April 22, 2011

 — A six-member jury has started deliberations in the trial of Richard Cassin, who is charged with aggravated manslaughter of the elderly in the death of his 90-year-old mother.
Cassin, a 53-year-old Grant-Valkaria man, is alleged to have failed to care for his mother leading to her death in June.
Investigators came to Cassin’s house after a complaint by a friend’s girlfriend about the deplorable conditions she was living in.
“The damage that he did caused her death,” said prosecutor Don Loughran during closing arguments today. “That man did nothing to keep her alive.”
Assistant Public Defender Fred Leone said Cassin was a depressed individual who tried to care for his mother.
“Is it because he didn’t have the resources to help take care of his mother?” Leone asked the jury.
Earlier story: Elderly neglect trial begins for Grant-Valkaria man
It was right after opening statements Wednesday when the jury saw the emaciated and withered face of Florence Cassin on a screen, her hands clutching her chest.
The slide show of photographs of the 90-year-old woman who died in June and her home painted a picture of neglect: a kitchen floor cluttered with garbage, soiled bed linens and a barely used bag of adult diapers.
Her son, Richard Cassin, is being tried on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person. The 53-year-old Grant-Valkaria man does not have a criminal record in Brevard County, although he was convicted of carrying a concealed firearm more than two decades ago in South Floridahttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/mag-glass_10x10.gif.
Neglect is the most common form of domestic abuse of senior citizens, according to statistics from the National Center on Elder Abuse, with 67 percent of victims being women. But only about 1 in 14 elder abuse cases are reported to authorities, according to the center.
The allegations against Cassin are numerous: his mother was so dehydrated that her tongue was brown, there were insects inside her mouth and her diaper had not been changed for weeks.

Inside the house, the deputy found a woman who communicated by moaning and crying. A few weeks after she was removed from the residence, she passed away in a hospital.
An autopsy lists the cause of death as malnutrition, dehydration and septicemia, a life-threatening bacterial infection.
During opening statements Tuesday, prosecutor Susan Stewart said Cassin took better care of his pets than he did of his mother.
"He took wonderful care of them," she said.
"Homicide from neglect," Stewart added, mentioning the reason for the woman's death.
Cassin listened to her as he sat next to Assistant Public Defender Fred Leone.
When it was Leone's turn to speak, he told jurors that Cassin was a loving son who brought his mother from South Florida to live with him because she was not getting along with another son.
"She didn't believe in going to doctors," Leone said. "He did his mother's bidding."
Cassin's mother was demanding and eccentric, and was a heavy drinker, the attorney said. At the Grant-Valkaria home, she had her son take down a portion of a drywall between two rooms so she could look around the house.
"She had her way all her life," Leone said.
Care-giving can sometimes take a high toll. According to a USA Today report, caregivers have one or more chronic conditions, "at nearly twice the rate of all Americans. Of those who say their health has worsened because of care-giving, 91 percent report depression."
In Cassin's case, Leone said, the strain of caring for his mother made him take up drinking. In fact, when the sheriff's deputy came to check on Florence Cassin, Leone said her son appeared to be intoxicated.
In a similar case in March, a suspect, Robert Oropeza, who was slapped with the same charge in the death of his mother, killed himself in his backyard on the day his trial was scheduled to begin.
Leone ended his opening statements by saying that Cassin did not cause his mother's death.
"He grieves his mother's death," Leone said.

SOURCE:     Florida Today

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