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Caregivers plead guilty in 2015 death of Penn Hills man

Megan Guza
| Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, 4:06 p.m.
Pamela McNeal
Pamela McNeal
Adam Haynes
Adam Haynes

A Penn Hills husband and wife who allowed a disabled man in their care to lose half his body weight and develop bedsores so bad he developed sepsis pleaded guilty to third-degree murder Tuesday in front of Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel.

David Fuhrman, 54, weighed 76 pounds when paramedics pronounced him dead in his Penn Hills home Nov. 24, 2015.

He had weighed about 140 pounds when he was healthy, according to his caregivers, Pamela McNeal, 59, and her husband, 49-year-old Adam Haynes. Both pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, neglect, reckless endangerment and conspiracy. Sentencing is scheduled for April 4.

Charges were filed against Haynes and McNeal Dec. 7, 2016 — more than a year after Fuhrman died.

According to the criminal complaint, Haynes used the OnStar services in his vehicle to call for help Nov. 24, 2015. When police and paramedics arrived, they found Fuhrman dead in bed, wearing three adult diapers, with his ribs and hips showing through his skin and with clearly infected bedsores.

McNeal told police they'd been caring for Fuhrman for more than 15 years, and she'd “essentially adopted Fuhrman,” according to the complaint. He functioned at the level of a 5-year-old, she said, and originally lived with them in their Crafton home until they moved to Penn Hills “around 2011.”

The couple said that Fuhrman began to decline about six months before his death, when he began falling often and eventually could no longer move or sit up in bed, according to the complaint. McNeal said that she and her husband noticed a large bedsore on Fuhrman's lower back around June or July 2015, and it continued to grow. The wound grew for six months, with McNeal's only solution being to clean the gaping wound with peroxide, according to the complaint.

He became incontinent, she said, and stopped eating, police wrote. The last medical care he received was in November 2014 during an emergency visit to St. Clair Hospital. Both McNeal and Haynes told police they were aware of his dire condition.

An autopsy revealed Fuhrman was 76 pounds at the time of his death, which was caused by sepsis due to severe bedsores, the medical examiner concluded. His death was ruled a homicide.

Fuhrman “just fell apart,” Haynes told police, according to the complaint. He told investigators that Fuhrman's condition became so dire because he didn't “do the right thing.”

Police said Haynes became emotional during his interview, “pleading with detectives to arrest him and placing his hands in an outstretched motion.”

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519, or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

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