Jury convicts caregiver in Davis elder neglect death

"Just an old man dying" is how the defendant in a Davis elder abuse case described the man he was supposed to be caring for, prosecutors said.

The victim, Cecil Wachholtz, was found unconscious, clothed in only a soiled adult diaper on a bare mattress at a Davis residence Oct. 13, 2013, according to the Yolo County District Attorney's Office. Davis firefighters took him to Sutter Davis Hospital where he was found to be malnourished, dehydrated, emaciated, suffering from hypothermia and covered in bed sores, medical staff reported. Wachholtz, who was developmentally disabled, never regained consciousness and died Oct. 27, 2012.

The Yolo County coroner determined Wachholtz died from neglect.

James Mattos, 53, the caregiver, was charged with second-degree murder, elder abuse likely to cause great bodily harm or death and theft from an elder or dependent adult. Thursday, a Yolo County jury found Mattos convicted of the charges.

In trial testimony, jurors heard a trust established for Wachholtz's care by his uncle allocated $2,500 a month to Mattos to provide Wachholtz with food, housing, medical care and medications. The prosecution said Wachholtz was last seen by a doctor in 2008. When he died, the value of the trust was more than $200,000.

Mattos, faces 37 years to life in prison when he is sentenced May 16, the district attorney's office said.


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