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Woman guilty on all counts in case of mother who died after being left on floor of home

Union Leader Correspondent

January 11. 2018 7:12PM
Katherine Saintil-Brown held her hands over her face and wiped tears throughout most of the closing arguments in her trial Thursday in Rockingham County Superior Court (Jason Schreiber/Union Leader Correspondent)

BRENTWOOD — After about four hours of deliberation, jurors on Thursday found Katherine Saintil-Brown guilty on all counts in the death of her elderly mother, who was left on the floor of her Exeter home for five days while covered in urine and feces.

Jurors announced their verdict just as court was closing at 4 p.m., finding the 54-year-old Saintil-Brown of Houston, Texas, guilty of negligent homicide, failing to report elder abuse, and criminal neglect of an elder adult.

“The jury made the right decision. This was a really bad case with some really horrible facts and I think the jury’s verdict really sends a message to people that are out there volunteering to take care of elderly people that if you accept the responsibility, that’s a responsibility that you’re going to be held to, and if you don’t then obviously this jury agreed that there needs to be consequences for that,” Assistant Attorney General Brandon Garod said.

After three days of testimony in Rockingham County Superior Court, the case against Saintil-Brown was handed to jurors Thursday following closing arguments in which prosecutors accused Saintil-Brown of waiting too long to call for help to get a urine- and feces-covered Nancy Parker off the floor.

Garod described Parker as “rotting alive” as she came closer to death.

Defense lawyers, who declined to comment on the verdict, argued Parker chose to live in filth, refused help, and led a “sad” and “unconventional” life.

Saintil-Brown’s daughter, Meritel Saintil, 34, was convicted of negligent homicide and failing to report elder abuse; she was sentenced Monday to two to four years in state prison.

Saintil-Brown faces up to 15 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set; she remains free on bail.

Similar defense in 2 trials

According to prosecutors, Parker died in February 2016 after she was left on the floor in her feces and urine and developed necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacterial infection.

Garod described Saintil-Brown and her daughter as Parker’s caregivers. Public defender Kristen Guilmette disputed the claim, insisting that it was Saintil, not Saintil-Brown, who was considered the caregiver.

The defense presented in Saintil-Brown’s trial was similar to what Saintil’s lawyers told jurors during her trial — that Parker was a stubborn woman who often urinated and defecated on herself at home and in the workplace.

Guilmette said she had repeatedly refused help from state services and others.

“Nancy had the right to make her own choices, even if they were bad ones,” she said during closing arguments.

Guilmette added, “If she wanted to defecate and urinate on herself and live in deplorable conditions, that was her choice to make.”

Guilmette said Saintil-Brown and her daughter initially tried to help Parker off the floor, but she told them to leave her alone.

“If she wanted to be on the floor, she was going to be on the floor,” she said. “She wanted to be left alone to do what she wanted when she wanted.”

By the fifth day, she said, Saintil-Brown had had enough and called for firefighters to help lift her off the floor.

Still a human being

Despite her poor hygiene and stubbornness, Garod reminded jurors that Parker was still a human being.

“When a human being is stuck on the floor from waist to toe in their own feces and actively going to the bathroom on themselves, common decency says if you can’t get her off the floor, call for help. More importantly, the law in the state of New Hampshire says if you can’t get her up you have to call for help. No human being, no matter how stubborn or how difficult they are, deserves to suffer and die the way Nancy Parker did,” he said.

Garod said Saintil-Brown had made comments while arguing with Parker that she couldn’t wait until she died and was aware that she would get an inheritance. However, he said the state isn’t claiming Saintil-Brown purposely left Parker on the floor to kill her.

Guilmette said the case wasn’t about inheritance.

Saintil testified in her own defense at her trial last month and testified Wednesday during Saintil-Brown’s trial. Saintil-Brown did not testify at either trial.

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