In Sunbury, Pennsylvania, The News Item
- A Mount Carmel man, who previously pleaded no contest to three criminal charges for neglecting his elderly mother and forging her pension checks totaling more than $1,150, withdrew his plea [...] because he claims he's innocent of the offenses.
Joseph Francis Campbell, 57, who was scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Charles Saylor on felonies of neglect of a care-dependent person and forgery, and a misdemeanor of recklessly endangering another person, will now face a hearing to determine if Saylor will accept the withdrawal of his plea.
Campbell's public defender Paige Rosini told the judge, "Mr. Campbell is asserting his innocence in this matter and is withdrawing his plea."
Campbell was charged by Mount Carmel Cpl. David Donkochik with eight felony counts of forgery for allegedly forging and cashing eight pension checks belonging to his mother, Rose Marcoon, 86, between Aug. 5 and Nov. 4, 2013. Some of the checks were forged after Marcoon was hospitalized, police said.
He also was previously charged by Donkochik with felonies of neglect of a care-dependent person and forgery.
Police said Campbell was the primary caregiver for his mother at their South Vine Street home.
Dr. Peter McNeil, a Mount Carmel family physician, told police he hadn't seen Marcoon since May 2013 and went to her home unannounced about 1:30 p.m. Nov. 1, 2013, to check on her well-being. He entered the unlocked home and called her name and heard her respond from upstairs.
Police said McNeil found Marcoon in a filthy bedroom lying on a mattress stained by body fluids. There were no bedsheets on the mattress, only a dirty blanket. Alert but disoriented, Marcoon was thirsty and hungry, her stomach concave, and there were open sores and contusions about her body.
The doctor called for paramedics, who called for a police officer.
Marcoon, who was taken for treatment to Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital, was weak and couldn't move her arms and legs. She weighed between 75 and 80 pounds.
Police said the deed to Marcoon's home was put in Campbell's name. A bank account was changed to a joint account. Campbell was unemployed and his mother's only caregiver.
Campbell told police he tried to convince his mother to seek medical attention, but that she put it off. He was aware of her declining health, but made no attempts to seek outside assistance for her care, according to a criminal complaint.
Northumberland County President Judge William H. Wiest removed Campbell as Marcoon's guardian during a hearing in November 2013 and granted emergency guardianship to Eldercare Solutions of Williamsport on the recommendation of Northumberland County Area Agency on Aging.