Cobb jury convicts caregiver of elder neglect

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Unable to reach a unanimous verdict of murder or felony elder abuse, a Cobb County jury convicted a nursing home caregiver of elder neglect in the death of a 91-year-old man who died in 2017.

A press release from the Office of Cobb District Attorney Joyette Holmes described the events at the nursing home as follows:

About 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 15, 2017, Adam Bennett was found in his room at Sunrise Assisted Living Center, on Johnson Ferry Road, with a bruised lip. Mr. Bennett told a day-shift caregiver: “He punched me,” while motioning to his face, chest, and groin. Mr. Bennett soon became unresponsive, and workers at the nursing home then called for an ambulance. He was rushed to WellStar Kennestone Hospital, where his injuries included facial bruising, multiple rib fractures, and a collapsed lung. He never regained consciousness and died on Aug. 18.

Cobb police detectives said that Landon Terrel, now 35, was the only male working the overnight shift on the evening of Bennett’s injuries

.Terrel denied striking Bennett and said he saw no facial bruising on the victim when he checked on him before his shift ended at 6:00 a.m.

Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Christopher Gulledge, ruled that Bennett’s death resulted from blunt force trauma as a result of assault.

Terrel told the police investigators that he caught Mr. Bennett as he fell out of bed the previous evening and that Mr. Bennett had hit is chest on the bed.

He said he had checked on Bennett hourly throughout the night and that Mr. Bennett repeatedly complained of pain.

Terrel said he used “poor judgment” in ignoring those complaints.

“Too often we think of justice as a result, instead of a process. This was a tough case, with tough facts.  We respect the verdict delivered by the jury,” Senior ADA Jason Marbutt said.

Cobb Superior Court Judge Lark Ingram presided over the trial. She scheduled sentencing for 1:30 p.m. on August 19.

Terrel could receive up to 20 years in prison.

Attorney Aaron Henrickson represented Terrel in court.

Terrel has been in custody at the Cobb County Adult Detention Facility since he was arrested in August of 2017.