Record of the Dead for November 2010

Trigger warning for discussion of murder and abuse of people with disabilities. This month’s list also includes disabled people who were victims of sex-based crimes before their deaths.

This list of November media reports about people with disabilities murdered or dying under strange circumstances is presented without commentary, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing people may want to discuss about it in comments. I do not believe for a moment that this list is complete. It is sorted alphabetically by last name. Almost all links are to news reports.

“Amanda” (unidentified by any other name; police have not released her name), 23, back injuries that required a walker to get around, Flint, Michigan, November 16. “Someone had hit her with a car, and left her to die.”

Cynthia Burns, 58, stroke and undefined physical disabilities, Wylie, Texas, April 2009. “The 5-foot-5 woman weighed 54 pounds when she died.”

Thomas Boyle, two broken hips, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, November 17. Died in a house fire.

Cynthia Cline, 51, “mentally disabled”, East Liverpool, Ohio, November 13. She was stabbed once in the abdomen by her boyfriend.

Antonio Quinton Clarke, 15, learning disabilities, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 25, 2007. “He was so badly beaten, his face was unrecognizable.” No one has been charged.

Amanda Cooper, 10, “developmentally disabled”, Los Angeles, California, November 27. “Authorities are investigating whether she was killed as part of a sexual assault.”

Laura Cummings, 23, “mentally troubled”, North Collins, Massachusettes, January 21, 2010. Her mother smothered her with a pillow; her half-brother is facing charges of sexual abuse against Laura. The prosecutor described her “depraved and horrific mistreatment of her daughter and her post-plea claims that her daughter’s misconduct led to her own death.”

Jennifer Daugherty, 30, “mentally disabled”, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, February 11, 2010. “One of Jennifer Daugherty’s alleged killers described in gruesome detail Monday how the six suspects repeatedly tortured the mentally disabled woman for 48 hours before they voted to kill her.” They killed her by “repeatedly stabbing” her for 30 minutes, then slit her throat.

Tiffany Demus, 31, “cerebral palsy and the mentality of an 8-year-old”, Arlington, Texas, sometime during the week of November 22. The only details as of this writing are that she was found dead in a park after having run away from home following a family argument.

Dawn Driver, 60, schizophrenia, affective psychosis and chronic anxiety, Leyland, UK, July 23, 2010. After receiving anti-psychotic medication, she jumped to her death in front of a train.

Loren Donn Leslie, 15, blind, Vanderhoof, British Columbia, Canada, November 27. Police are not releasing the cause of her death. She was found dead on the side of a rural road. Police have a friend of hers in custody.

Luella Edge, 80, “Alzheimer’s disease and was a paranoid schizophrenic”, Bellaire, Ohio, some time after April 30. She had disappeared from her retirement home 7 months ago; her remains were found in a wooded area near-by.

Lynsie Ekelund, 20, partially paralyzed, Santa Clarita Canyon, California, sometime after Feb. 17, 2001. Her murderer recently confessed to raping and strangling her on the way to a party.

Ila Gandhi, 62, schizophrenia, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, November 14. Strangled in her secured building. Her mother was also seriously injured.

Paul Harden, 25, undefined mental health condition related to PTSD, St Helens, UK, October 29. Unexplained drug overdose.

Ryan Hughes, autism, ADHD, Newcastle, Co Wicklow, Republic of Ireland, September 3, 2009. Choked to death on a latex glove while being cared for at a respite facility. His death was ruled accidental.

Tom Inglis, 22, brain damage, London, England, November 21 2008. Lethal injection of heroine administered by his mother, who barricaded the door to his room and super-glued the door closed. [More details about this case]

Joan Johnston, 57, used a mobility scooter, Scarborough, UK. The doctor who hit her vehicle in a head-on collision has been fined but not held in jail because his “contribution to society in your everyday work is extensive.” Yes, he will not get more than a fine because Joan was apparently partly responsible for her own death for being fat and having a mobility scooter in her vehicle.

Linda Lee Yee Lin, 12, “had limited use of her legs and could not walk unaided”, Singapore, date unknown, news report looks like it was sometime mid-November 2010. Found dead at the foot of a block of flats. “It is not known which floor she fell from.” [More about this case]

Clara Laird, 86, dementia, Seal Beach, California, November 21. Shot by her husband while in a nursing home.

Samuel Mason, 61, unspecified mental and physical disabilities, Jackson, Mississippi, November 16. Samuel has just died from injuries from a beating outside of his home on July 10, 2010. There are no leads in his case.

Eddie Maddick, 45, epilepsy, Millbrook, Hampshire, UK, July 28, 2001. Stomped to death.

Doug Minty, 59, “mentally challenged”, Elmvale, Ontario, June 22, 2009. Died from multiple gunshot wounds after being shot outside his mother’s home by Huronia West OPP Const. Graham Seguin.

Jeffrey Munro, 32, schizophrenia, Toronto, Ontario, November 7, 2009. He was found beaten to death in his jail cell.

Richard Steven Poccia, 60, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Napa, California, November 29. “The victim’s wife had called police for assistance at about 3 p.m., police said. Her husband was described as “possibly suicidal,” they said. … One officer Tasered the man while another shot him.”

Christy Russell, 35, wheelchair user, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, November 8. Hit and killed by an SUV in an area with no sidewalks. Another wheelchair user was killed last month in the same area. The city passed an ordinance four years ago that sidewalks should be built. [More details about this case. The video describes further details about the accident.]

Shayne Richard Sime, 42, spinal disease, Christchurch, New Zealand, June 28, 2009. Shot to death by police officers, his death has been ruled a suicide.

Levi Schaeffer, 30, schizophrenia, Thunder Bay, Ontario, June 24, 2009. Shot by a provincial police officer.

Ajit Singh, 12, autistic, London, England, February 9, 2010. His mother forced him to drink bleach, and then tried to kill herself by drinking bleach herself. Please note that the news reports indicate that Singh’s mother has been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition.

Jorene White, 59, “bedridden and suffered from debilitating arthritis”, Madison, Ohio, July 23, 2010. “Jorene died in July from blood infection caused by maggots, who laid eggs in her body.” Her husband plead guilty to reckless homicide. “The prosecutor calls the case “sad.” “She had open bed sores. The sores had gotten to the point that her body had started decomposing and then the body starts decomposing, the flies move in and lay their eggs and start to eat their flesh while she is still alive.””

Beryl Webb, 75, histrionic personality disorder, fibromyalgia, Sheffield, UK, May 14, 2010. He husband smothered her to death. He claims she wanted to commit suicide; her diary claims “Hugh dreadful. Wants me dead. Hates me because of my mobility problems.”

Unnamed 16 year old boy, undefined disabilities, but he was in a “treatment center” for people with “pervasive developmental disorders, emotional disorders, are hearing impaired or mentally impaired”, Manvel, Texas, November 5. “Restraint techniques were used to subdue the child”, death is thought to be by asphyxiation.

Institutions

Torture In US Prisons by Stephen Lendman discusses the torture of inmates in US prisons, including prisoners with disabilities. Please note this is very graphic in its descriptions.

Calls come after a report of 13 deaths of children and young adults at North Side home since 2000, Illinois. “Among the proposals: raising fines and sending cases to a medical examiner’s office. One advocate suggested that facility operators who run poor homes shouldn’t be allowed to acquire new ones. “How many dead kids are you going to get a pass on?” asked Wendy Meltzer, executive director for Illinois Citizens for Better Care.”

Supreme Court to hear California Prisons Case

On the mental health side, the examples too are, in the words of one observer, “Dickensian,” with suicides averaging one a week, and the number of preventable suicides rising dramatically.

Follow Ups

The murderer of Phillip Holmes has received a life sentence. “The judge said Mather had shown no remorse for the murder of Mr Holmes, who was described in court as a “gentle, vulnerable man””

The body of Zahra Clare Baker has been found. As of this writing police have not laid charges.

The men accused of branding swastika on a mentally-disabled Navajo man on April 22, 2010 are in court.

An inquiry into the murderer of John Williams has found the shooting was not justified.

By 2 December, 2010.    deaths, Record of the Dead  , ,  



8 Comments

  1. FYI:
    The links for “Amanda”, Cynthia Cline, Laura Cummings, Ila Gandhi, Tom Inglis, Christy Russell, and Ajit Singh are broken. The first two links under “Institutions” are also broken.

  2. Thank you, P. They should be fixed now.

  3. I’m not sure if you can actually say that this listing is “presented without commentary” considering your paragraph on Joan Johnston.

    What happened in that case is terrible, but it is impossible to say that she wasn’t contributorily negligent in the accident that caused her death. Not because she was obese–that fact really shouldn’t have been discussed by the article except to note the failings of the emergency transport system that left her waiting for 4 hours–but because she had an *unsecured* 200+ lb chunk of metal metal sitting in the back of her car: her mobility scooter. I’m not saying that if it hadn’t struck both her and her husband, she would have lived, but I can guarantee that 200lbs of anything slamming into your back in an accident would do some serious damage.

    Whenever I travel with my chair in a car, it is either broken down and stored in the trunk, or thoroughly strapped down in the back of my van. While this entire accident wouldn’t have happened were it not for a careless doctor who should be getting a hell of a lot more than just a fine from a criminal court, it can serve as a reminder to those of us with assistive devices that we need to secure them when driving.

  4. Kris, Joan Johnston is dead because a doctor lost control of his car and hit her vehicle straight on. The response of the judge was basically “You’re a doctor. She didn’t contribute enough to society for you to to get more than a slap on the wrist.” The issue for me isn’t whether or not Joan did anything to contribute to her death. My issue is that the judge explicitly stated that the doctor’s life was more valuable than hers. The point of this list and the others is that the lives of people with disabilities are often less valued than those of able-bodied people.

    What’s unique about Joan’s death is that someone outright stated it, instead of just hinting around it like they do, such as when defense attorneys argue that murdering a disabled child is a crime “unlikely to be repeated”, or the way that every time Tracy Latimer’s murderer is in the paper the comment section fills up with “Oh, poor Tracy Latimer’s murderer, how tragic that he had to go to jail for murdering a cripple! How dare we judge him!”

    I am really not up, emotionally, for a debate about it. I know that can be irritating for people. I’ve been reading news stories about the murder of people like us daily for three months now, and I am pretty much at the end of my rope with it. I’m sorry, I know it’s unfair, but I am just not really going to be able to discuss it for at least a few days, if not more.

  5. Thanks, Anna, for compiling this list.

  6. Every time I write these posts, I want to tell people not to read them.

  7. Thank you for going through all this information, I know I couldn’t.

  8. I really appreciate you compiling these posts. They are incredibly hard to read, but I feel like if I can, I should. Thank you.