Brattleboro, VT- The trial of a Brattleboro nursing home employee who is accused of giving one of her patient’s a fatal dose of insulin and stealing thousands of dollars from the woman’s bank account in 2009.
As would be expected prosecuting attorneys painted a much different picture of the events that led to the death of Nita Lowry and the theft of nearly $30,000 from her bank account.
The woman accused if hastening Lowery’s death is Jodi LaClaire, 37, was characterized by the prosecution as a cold-blooded killer who gave the 83 year-old woman a dose of her of unnecessary insulin so that she could her money.
After a three year long intensive investigation, prosecutors charged LaClaire with second degree murder and seven counts of financial exploitation of an adult.
The prosecution alleges that LaClaire, the only nurse on duty when Lowery collapsed, gave the elderly woman a shot of insulin which put her in hypoglycemic coma from which she never recovered, the Rutland Herald reported.
Immediately after Lowery’s collapse, the prosecution said LaClaire began to withdraw large sums of money for her account. Almost $30,000 worth of jewelry was also missing from Lowery’s safe in her room.
The state said that just one hour before Lowrey collapsed someone used her computer and set up a PIN to access her credit cards and bank accounts online. Gail LaHaise, Lowery’s daughter told the court her mother never used the computer for any banking purposes.
LaClaire’s defense attorney painted a very different picture, alleging that Lowery’s fell into the hypoglycemic shock because she was in bad health; she was a smoker and cancer survivor who had an undiagnosed tumor on one of her lungs. The defense also said Lowery was a heavy drinker which could have caused the coma.
The prosecution and Lowery’s family denied she had a drinking problem.
The defense also tried to pin the thefts on Lowery’s grandson who visited her frequently and had a girlfriend who was plagued by alcohol abuse, according to the Rutland Herald. They also stated Lowery’s jewelry began to go missing before she fell into the coma.
The prosecution was able to cast doubt on the cause of Lowery’s death since it is still listed as “undetermined” on her death certificate. A Brattleboro doctor also said that it was unclear if Lowery was given insulin and said she could have suffered from hypoglycemic shock without an injection.
The defense said his client was on trial because of Lowery’s politically connected family; her husband was John Lowery Jr. a former district court judge.
The trial which started on Sept. 12th is expected to last weeks since the case is largely circumstantial, and many more people including the EMTs and the coroner still have to testify.
Too many seniors die unnecessarily in long term care facilities. We understand they are old and when they will pass is unpredictable, but if there death is hastened on purpose or because of neglect, their families can pursue both criminal charges and a civil suit.