Senior living resident won't be charged in death of fellow resident

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A 77-year-old resident of a Virginia assisted living community will not be indicted for an incident that resulted in the death of a fellow resident, Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter has announced.

As McKnight's Senior Living previously reported, police in Alexandria, VA, said they investigated the death of 82-year-old Hunter Alexander after he died in a hospital two days following an Oct. 24 assault at Sunrise of Alexandria. The Alexandria Police Department presented Porter with information gleaned in its investigation for a charging decision.

In his Dec. 28 announcement, Porter said that Alexander died after one push from the 77-year-old resident resulted in a hip fracture and cardiac complications. The residents, Porter added, lived in the community's memory care unit and argued briefly over whether a television should be turned off when the incident occurred.

Porter said that the investigation findings that the 77-year-old resident has “severe dementia” and did not intend to harm or kill his fellow resident were “extremely important” factors in his decision not to seek an indictment.

“The goals of the criminal justice system — holding people accountable for their actions, punishing intentional criminal actions and deterring future criminality — cannot be accomplished in a case where the person who committed the acts clearly does not understand the nature and consequences of his actions due to irreversible dementia,” he said. “On these facts, a felony indictment would, in my opinion, constitute an improper exercise of the authority inherent in my office and a breach of the trust handed to me by the citizenry.”

The 77-year-old resident, originally characterized by the police department as a 72-year-old, has been moved to an out-of-state facility, Porter added.

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