Sister of victim in vulnerable adult abuse case: ‘I was filled with anger, rage and hatred.’

November 20, 2017

Rebecca Deters

Sister of victim in vulnerable adult abuse case: ‘I was filled with anger, rage and hatred.’

#OceanaCountyCourtNews

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — The sister of the 55-year-old disabled man who died last January under the care of a 41-year-old Hesperia woman addressed the 27th Circuit Court during sentencing Monday, Nov. 20, stating, “I was filled with anger, rage and hatred.”

Rebecca Ann Deters, of 5030 E. Loop Rd., was sentenced to one year in jail, with credit for 231 days served, and three years probation for a conviction of second-degree vulnerable adult abuse.

Deters pleaded “no contest” to the charge last September.

Bonnie Ansell, the victim’s sister, addresses the court.

She was initially charged with a more serious felony of homicide/involuntary manslaughter, which carries a 15-year maximum, that was dismissed. She also was charged with misdemeanors of failure to report the discovery of a dead body and attempted removal of a dead body without the medical examiner’s permission, which were also dismissed. Related story here

As Scott McCallum’s caregiver, she cared for the bedridden man, who suffered from multiple sclerosis. McCallum died Jan. 4, 2017, and Deters did not report his death to authorities until two days later.

“I hope Becky will never be permitted to take care of another human being in her lifetime,” said Bonnie Ansell, the victim’s sister, as she addressed Judge Robert D. Springstead.

“Homicide is on his death certificate,” Ansell said. “It’s a very evil word.”

Ansell said she sought help from a therapist due to the emotional turmoil. “I had to find the forgiveness deep in my soul.”

“There were so many days I wanted to do to her what she did to us, but I knew that I couldn’t.”

She described “that little dingy room” and “the stench of his bed from urine.”

“When we walked into that home, we knew there was no way we could have a happy visit with him,” she said.

“Homicide is so evil.”

“My condolences to Bonnie and all of the McCallums,” said Deters’ attorney, Terry Shaw. “Scott was a friend of hers, and she feels worse than anybody.”

“This harm was caused accidentally by a careless act,” Shaw argued.

Shaw referred to the opinion from his expert witness, Dr. Werner Spitz. “Once bed sores start, they are hard to stop,” he said. Preventing McCallum’s death would have “required a miracle.”

“The classification of homicide is a vast exaggeration,” the attorney argued. “It is not murder,” he said, but rather “a natural death from disease.” Shaw said McCallum “always wanted Rebecca (to care for him).”

Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon disagreed, citing the testimony of the prosecution’s expert witness, Dr. David Start. “He testified that the bedsores were so horrific that they led to sepsis and led to victim’s death.”

“Mr McCallum died due to the lack of care by this defendant,” Bizon said. “The charge is appropriate; the conviction is appropriate; and the (sentencing) score is appropriate.”

Judge Springstead agreed with Bizon, stating that the sentencing is “appropriately scored.”

“I heard the testimony at the preliminary exam. The court does find that this defendant did cause the death by the mistreatment.”

Guidelines in the case are 0-17 months, and Springstead said he would sentence consistently within them.

The judge made it a condition of Deters’ probation that she is not to provide care for other people.

This story is copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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