When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

07 December 2007

Elder-care nightmare

Seven years ago, Barbara Clark pleaded guilty to stealing more than $5,000 from a 90-year-old man at the Durham retirement community where she worked.

A judge gave her a suspended sentence and ordered Clark not to work anywhere she would have access to elderly people's property or possessions for three years.

On Thursday, Clark was charged with first-degree murder, accused of fatally beating a 92-year-old woman who had hired her as a housekeeper. The woman had asked Clark to come to her Fearrington Village retirement center apartment to discuss stolen checks.

Doretta Walker, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted Clark after her 2000 arrest, saw her on the news Wednesday night.

"I prosecuted that lady and told her not to work with the elderly, there she goes killing an old lady," Walker said. "When I saw her on TV last night, I said, 'I know that lady.'

"You should have seen my face."

Clark is accused of beating Margaret Murta to death, and seriously injuring her long-time friend Mary Corcoran, 82, and their neighbor Rebecca Fisher, 77.

Suspect was ordered to avoid elderly (News and Observer, 7 December 2007)

From now on, when people ask me why I don't trust the State of North Carolina or home-health care agencies to perform adequate due diligence on their certified nursing assistants, and why I personally run criminal background checks on any home-care aides who help take care of my Mom, I'll just point them to this article.

Oh, and a big "attaboy" to the criminal justice system for giving Barbara Clark a get out of jail free card suspended sentence on felony larceny and felony exploitation of an elderly or disabled person seven years ago.

Stealing from the weak and vulnerable is *exactly* the kind of thing where leniency is called for, don't you think?

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