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Caregiver Officially Charged In Woman's Death

Last updated on Monday, February 4, 2013

(BLOOMINGTON) - The caregiver accused of neglecting a disabled woman was officially charged for his possible role in her death.

52-yeaqr-old Kenneth. Aker Jr., of Bloomington, is charged with felony neglect, in connection with the death of 53-year-old Tamara West.

He had been a caregiver for the woman with cerebral palsy since 2001 and as a contract worker for LifeDesigns, he was paid $1,950 a month.

Police say West's bed sores were "down to the bone," but Aker did not seek medical attention for the sores because he feared criticism from members of the community for his treatment of the disabled woman.

Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Kehr says he was prohibited from filing for a Class A felony, which carries a penalty of 20 to 50 years, because the law does not allow for a charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in death unless the victim is less than 14 years old. A Class B felony, neglect of a depending resulting in serious bodily injury, carries a sentence ranging from six to 20 years.

The Herald Times reports, in his initial hearing Thursday, Aker hesitated when asked how he would plead. Todd broke the silence: "I'm guessing you want to plead not guilty because you are facing six to 20 years?" Aker nodded his head and mumbled "yes."

According to a probable cause affidavit Aker was remorseful about West's bedsores. Akers told police he treated them but says he should have taken her to the doctor, but he was scared.

In the affidavit, Aker said LifeDesigns personnel does not usually inspect patients physically but conducts interviews about the care. He told police he could not recall the name of anyone from LifeDesigns who supervised him.

Aker told police his only employment was with LifeDesigns. Susan Rinne, CEO of LifeDesigns confirmed Aker will no longer provide contract services for her organization.

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