Houston, TX (713) 681-3070 | Lexington, KY (800) 715-6268 info@marksfirm.com

    GALVESTON, Tex., Sept. 8 (AP)-Six years after a young prosecutor ran across a neglected file of reports alleging that elderly nursing home patients had died of abuse and neglect, a convalescent home chain and several employees are going on trial Monday.
    Along the way, the case has been before three grand juries, cost the young prosecutor his job and spurred calls for reforms within the nursing home industry and state regulatory agencies.
    “All along, I felt the solution for these old, abused people was the criminal justice system,” said the former prosecutor, David Marks, who is now an assistant State Attorney General. “Everyone else had turned their backs on them.”
    The Autumn Hills Convalescent Center Inc., a Houston-based nursing home chain and its president and four current or former employees are charged with murder in the deaths in 1978 of two women at its home in Texas City.
    Allegations Termed “Absurd”
    Mr. Marks discovered the file in May 1979 while working in the misdemeanor division of the Galveston County District Attorney’s office. It contained reports from state inspectors who said elderly patients had been left for days in their own waste, that their bedsores and other afflictions were ignored and that they were beaten and abused.
    Defense attorneys have steadfastly maintained that their clients are innocent and have blasted the allegations as “absurd” and “incomprehensible.”
    “When you talk of murder, you have to show intent and certainly there’s none of that there,” said Mike Ramsey, who represents Cassandra Canlas, the former director of nursing services.
    “It was Sandy’s first administrative job,” Mr. Ramsey said. “She was young, about 23 and was saddled with some pretty heavy responsibilities. She probably made some mistakes, but murder was not one of them.”

    Read the full article