GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - N o charges will be filed against an 86-year-old man with Alzheimer's who assaulted another Alzheimer's patient at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, which led to that man's death.
Andrew Ball, 84, died days after being hit by the other veterans' home patient.
Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth said the decision not to charge the suspect was easy. The prosecutor essentially said he will not compound what is already a tragedy by pursuing charges that he says would do no good.
"Take him out of there and put him where? In a jail?" Forsyth said. "There's just nothing to be gained by prosecuting him that I can see."
"This is not justice for my dad," said Ball's stepdaughter Deb Keyworth. "For this to go out in a statement and boom, that's it -- somehow that doesn't seem like justice for me."
The family said the news has been hard for them to take, even though they agree that the man responsible has no place in prison because of what happened.
"We just have to deal with the fact that our dad got killed and go home and that's it. It's a hard situation," said Keyworth.
In a press release, Forsyth explained his reasons. (The entire text is below, as it was written.)
"We got a form letter saying, 'Sorry your dad died.' That was it," said Keyworth. "My dad deserved at least to have someone to call us that made that decision. ... I guess that's the way that the system works. ... Maybe I'm expecting too much."
The man who hit Ball is still living in the Veteran's home's Alzheimer's ward.
Re: April 17, 2012 death of Andrew Ball at the Grand Rapids Rome for Veterans
Both the victim and the suspect were residents of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and both suffered from "late stage Alzheimer's/dementia." Consequently, both men had been placed in the "Alzheimer's Unit"; a locked area within the facility. At approximately 4:00 AM on April 13, 2012, it appears that Mr. Ball got out of bed, left his room, entered a room across the hall and attempted to climb into the suspect's bed. The suspect then punched Mr. Ball with enough force to cause a bloody nose and mouth. According to staff, it was not uncommon for Mr. Ball to become disoriented and, as a result, wander the halls, enter another resident's room or even attempt to climb into someone else's bed.
After the incident, Mr. Ball was kept under observation and when swelling was noted on the left side of his face, he was taken to Metropolitan Hospital for evaluation. He was transported by Life Ambulance at approximately 8:40 AM and released at 1:00 PM the same day. After returning from the hospital, he was conscious, able to walk with assistance, respond to questions and to eat until his condition began to deteriorate during the evening hours of the 16th. Mr. Ball's condition continued to decline and he ultimately died at approximately 6:00 PM on the 17th. Autopsy findings led the Medical Examiner, Dr. Stephen Cohle, to conclude that Mr. Ball died from "medical complications of multiple blunt facial injuries" and that his death was a homicide.
Despite Dr. Cohle's findings, charges will not be filed. This entire incident is a tragedy and I will not compound it by attempting to prosecute the alleged suspect. Both Mr. Ball, age 84, and the suspect, age 86, had honorably and proudly served our nation during World War II and both had been fortunate enough to have survived and to have lived long and productive lives. Regrettably, late in life, Alzheimer's robbed them of their dignity, their independence and their memories. In reality it stole from them, their family and their friends the essence of who they were. Given the suspect's age and the extent of his dementia, absolutely nothing will be gained by charging him with a crime; a crime I doubt he has any memory of having committed.
A professor who participated in the anti-apartheid movement said Nelson Mandela taught the importance of struggle and sacrifice.
Global civil rights icon Nelson Mandela, whose legacy is ending South African apartheid, has died.
The case of a man accused of the involuntary manslaughter of three children who died in a February apartment fire is ready to go to a jury.