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Prosecutors to appeal woman’s sentence in mother’s death

August 5, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Prosecutors are going to appeal the sentence that will allow a Nebraska woman to avoid prison in the death of her elderly mother, saying the judge was too lenient.

The Douglas County Attorney’s Office filed notice on Friday that it will appeal the Paula Boyd’s sentence, state Court of Appeals records show.

Authorities say Boyd, 64, neglected to care for her 89-year-old mother, Dorothy Pistillo, after she fell on the floor at her Omaha home and remained there for several days without food or water. Pistillo had dementia.

Boyd faced up to three years in prison and five years of probation when she was convicted of abuse of a vulnerable adult. But last month, Judge Russell Bowie sentenced her to six months of probation. He said the five days Boyd spent behind bars after she was arrested were “sufficient” jail time.

“We obviously disagree with the sentence,” Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said. “It’s frustrating. It’s disheartening. ... To treat your own mother with a total disregard, there should be greater consequences.”

Authorities said paramedics found Pistillo lying in her own filth and stuck to her living room carpet, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

“She was starved. She was dehydrated. She had bed sores — some of which you could almost see down to the bone,” prosecutor Katie Benson said.

Pistillo died a month later in the hospital.

Coroner Dr. Michelle Elieff attributed Pistillo’s death to “congestive heart failure due to advanced/end-stage dementia,” but said that malnutrition, ulcers and a urinary tract infection were contributing factors.

Boyd told police her mother didn’t want her help.

“I didn’t have a medical directive for her,” Boyd said according to prosecutor Benson. “If she wanted to lie there, what was I supposed to do?”

Boyd’s attorney, Mallory Hughes, said she thinks Boyd’s sentence was appropriate. She argued that this case was a lapse in Boyd’s otherwise spotless record.

“She’s regretful she never got to say goodbye to her mother,” Hughes said. “This is a woman who is incredibly remorseful for what happened.”

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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