Powder Springs man given 10 years for elder neglect

photo of Cobb Superior Court building from the front with a blue sky with clouds in the background

A press release from the office of Cobb District Attorney Joyette Holmes announced that a Powder Springs man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of elder neglect toward a 91-year-old man who died in Sunrise Assisted Living Center on Johnson Ferry Road in 2017.

Landon Terrel, 35, had also been charged with more serious crimes in connection with the death of Adam Bennett, but a jury last month was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on any charge except elder neglect.

Terrel was a caregiver at the facility.

Cobb Superior Court Judge Lark Ingram sentenced Landon Terrel to 10 years, with five years to serve in prison and five on probation.

“This Defendant knowingly and intentionally failed to provide healthcare to a 91-year-old man,” Senior Assistant District Attorney Jason Marbutt said during Friday’s sentencing hearing. “Adam Bennett died from painful injuries. He suffered. And the person responsible for easing that suffering … did nothing.”

According to the District Attorney’s press release:

About 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 15, 2017, Mr. Bennett was found in his room at Sunrise 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 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 Terrel was the only male working the overnight shift that night.

Terrel denied hitting Mr. Bennett and said he saw no facial bruising when he last checked on Mr. Bennett just before his shift ended.

Terrel told investigators that Bennett’s bruising was the result of a fall.

Cobb’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Christopher Gulledge, however, ruled Mr. Bennett’s death was due to “blunt force trauma as a result of assault.”

Terrel was convicted of elder neglect and acquitted on two counts of elder abuse and one count of felony murder when the verdict was handed down on July 17.

The press release states, “Two colleagues of Terrel’s testified at Friday’s sentencing that other patients had complained about Terrel. The judge also heard that Terrel had been fired from other caregiving jobs for neglecting his patients and duties.

“My dad was a strong guy who had a strong heart,” said Doug Bennett, who recounted how his father called weekly to check on his son and his family. “This man knows what he did. … He took my father away.”

Terrel has been in custody since his arrest in 2017, and will receive credit for time served. The judge has ordered that Terrel not work as a caregiver when he is released on probation.