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Pennsylvania

Cambria County Coroner rules Johnstown care home resident's death homicide

| Thursday, May 31, 2007

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The death of a disabled man who was left overnight on a hallway floor of a personal care home in December has been ruled a homicide.

Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski's ruling followed a coroner's jury's recommendation last week to charge John R. Anthony Sr., owner of Moxham Personal Care Home in Johnstown, with involuntary manslaughter and neglect of a care-dependent person in the death of Gregory Hanks, 47, of Bedford County.

"Once the coroner's jury came back with that recommendation, (the death) had to be ruled a homicide," Kwiatkowski said Wednesday.

District Attorney Patrick Kiniry said last week he would decide within a month whether to file charges.

Under state law, homicide includes the charge of involuntary manslaughter, Kwiatkowski said.

He said if no charges are filed, the case will remain as an unproven homicide.

During the inquest, Anthony testified he didn't believe Hanks was in any danger when he allowed Hanks to remain sleeping on the floor overnight Dec. 21.

He said Hanks was known to be a heavy drinker who took prescription medication and had slept on the floor several times before.

An autopsy found Hanks died from a combination of prescribed medications, including painkillers, and alcohol.

A female resident testified she saw Hanks intoxicated that evening and saw him twice on the floor that night and checked on him. She said she also saw Anthony check on Hanks once.

Anthony said he also checked on Hanks later.

When the woman saw Hanks on the floor the next morning, she said she summoned Anthony and asked him to call 911.

Hanks, a homeless man, came to the home in February after being treated at a psychiatric ward.

Phone numbers for the care home and Anthony could not immediately be found Wednesday.

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