SUNBURY — A Mount Carmel man charged with neglecting his 86-year-old mother, who was found malnourished, dehydrated and living in wretched conditions, appeared a bit haggard Friday morning when his attorney informed a county judge he plans to take his case to trial.
Joseph Francis Campbell, 56, of 213 S. Vine St., attended his brief pre-trial conference sporting a gray goatee, scruffy beard, green hoodie, an orange prison jumpsuit and white sneakers. He stumbled on his leg shackles as he entered the courtroom.
But the defendant told Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor he understood what was going on in his case and agreed with assistant public defender Paige Rosini to proceed to trial.
Rosini said she was waiting to receive discovery evidence from the district attorney’s office. The public defender said it’s possible Campbell could reach a plea agreement with the commonwealth rather than go to trial.
Campbell was remanded back to Northumberland County Prison in Sunbury, where he has been incarcerated on $150,000 cash bail since his arrest in December.
When Campbell waived his right to a preliminary hearing Dec. 11 on felonies of neglect of a care-dependent person and forgery, Rosini said her client was offered a plea agreement by assistant district attorney William Cole. She said the offer involves Campbell pleading guilty to the neglect charge that carries a prison sentence of 22 months to 3 years. The forgery charge would not be prosecuted, Rosini said.
The charges were filed by Mount Carmel Cpl. David Donkochik.
Police said Campbell was the primary caregiver for his mother, Rose Marcoon, at their South Vine Street home. Dr. Peter McNeil, a Mount Carmel family physician, told police he hadn’t seen Marcoon since May and went to her home unannounced about 1:30 p.m. Nov. 1 to check on her well-being. He entered the unlocked home and called her name and heard her respond from upstairs.
McNeil found her in a filthy bedroom lying on a mattress stained by body fluids. There were no bedsheets on the mattress, only a dirty blanket. A stale waffle was beneath the blanket and a water bottle and plate were on the floor. Alert but disoriented, Marcoon was thirsty and hungry, her stomach concave, and there were open sores and contusions about her body.
The doctor called for paramedics, who called for a police officer.
According to a criminal complaint, the home was mostly clean and well-kept, except for the second-floor bedroom in which Marcoon was residing. Police said the odor from the room could be smelled throughout the home.
Marcoon, who was taken for treatment to Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital, Coal Township, was weak and couldn’t move her arms and legs. She weighed between 75 and 80 pounds.
Police said the deed to Marcoon’s home was put in Campbell’s name. A bank account was changed to a joint account. Campbell was unemployed and his mother’s only caregiver.
Campbell told police he tried to convince his mother to seek medical attention, but that she put it off. He was aware of her declining health, but made no attempts to seek outside assistance for her care, the criminal complaint states.
Northumberland County Judge William H. Wiest removed Campbell as Marcoon’s guardian during a hearing in November and granted emergency guardianship to Eldercare Solutions of Williamsport on the recommendation of Northumberland County Area Agency on Aging.
Marcoon is currently residing in an area nursing facility.