They were once accused of breaking the law in how they cared for mentally challenged adults. Now two more former workers at Oakwood in Somerset have been found ‘not’ guilty.
About two years ago Kentucky’s Attorney General began investigating cases of alleged abuse and or neglect of Oakwood residents. Some residents had died such as Deron Dickerson, who was in the care of Everett McGowan.
“The Kentucky State Police detective working in Pulaski County chose not to indict. They fully investigated the case,” said Jerry Cox, McGowan's attorney.
But lawyers with the State Attorney General’s Office picked up the case against McGowan and some other workers in the case anyway.
“And yet you have some outsiders who come down and try to prosecute the individual who deeply cared for Deron Dickerson,” Cox said.
A jury found McGowan innocent. The same verdict handed down in two other Oakwood cases.
Lydia Eldridge and Deannn Sumpter were acquitted. A mistrial was ruled for Rita Bond. Only Gary Mounce was given a jail sentence and that’s because he pleaded guilty. Five Oakwood cases and not a single guilty jury verdict.
Cox said in his client’s case, investigators went after the wrong person.
“If there was wrongdoing, I argued this in court, it was people behind the desks,” Cox said.
A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office declined to comment on the jury decisions and state health officials declined to comment on the acquittals.