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Woman Didn’t Get Help for Husband

January 7, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ A woman was charged with not calling for medical help for her dying husband because she was afraid she would be arrested for having a house full of garbage.

Farrell Puckett, 60, died Dec. 13 after being stricken with a heart- or diabetes-related problem at his home in the suburb of Whitehall, prosecutor Mark Hunt said Wednesday.

Puckett’s wife, Gwenith, tried to help him herself after he lost consciousness, then sought help from the neighbors, who asked why she didn’t call 911, Hunt said. Mrs. Puckett told the neighbors she would be arrested, the prosecutor said.

Paramedics were eventually called, and ``found the house so full of trash, junk, garbage and clothes that there was no room to treat the patient,″ Hunt said. Puckett was carried out, and pronounced dead at a hospital.

Mrs. Puckett, 51, was charged with failing to provide for a functionally impaired person, which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison. She was freed on $10,000 bail.

``I’ve been doing this 32 years, and this may be one of the most bizarre charges I’ve ever seen,″ said her lawyer David O. Niehoff.

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