A former Crothersville resident found guilty of beating a disabled man under her care has been sentenced to six years in prison.
A Bartholomew Superior Court 1 jury on Aug. 31 took two hours to find Kimberly Jo Fields, 51, guilty of battery by means of a deadly weapon and battery against a disabled person.
The victim was stroke patient Loren P. Jacobs Jr., who died at age 66 in Indianapolis on June 26, 2015 — three months after the disabled Vietnam War veteran was beaten in his Candlelight Village home.
While deputy prosecutor Greg Long did not attempt to link the assault to the victim’s death to the jury, two of Jacobs’ adult children said they had no doubt there was a connection between their father’s injuries and his demise.
During the sentencing, Judge Jim Worton cited the fact that Fields was in a position of care and control of an elderly person as significant factors in his decision.
Under Indiana law, Fields could have received up to 12 years in prison.
After Fields stated she planned to appeal the sentence, Worton appointed Scott Andrews as her appellate attorney.
Jacobs, who was partially paralyzed on the left side of his body, had invited Fields to stay with him rent-free in exchange for caregiving that included cooking and cleaning, Long told the seven-men, five-women jury.
But on the evening of March 3, 2015, Jacobs called police from a neighbor’s house to report Fields had beaten him repeatedly with a 5-foot wooden board, Long said.
Fields was angry with Jacobs after discovering he was planning to sell his home to move in with a cousin in Greenfield, which would have left her no place to stay, the deputy prosecutor said.
The attack took place while Jacobs was still in bed, Long said. The victim’s medical condition forced him to use oxygen while he was sleeping, Long told the jurors.
When officers arrived at Jacobs’ home, Fields seemed unaware the retired truck driver under her care had fled from his mobile home on Longshore Drive, according to police accounts.
After investigators asked her what took place between Jacobs and herself, she replied nothing had happened, Long said.
But upon examining the premises, blood was visible throughout the bedroom as well as in the bathroom, Long said.
The jury rejected Fields’ claims of self-defense, which included her assertion that it was the 5-foot tall, 140-pound disabled man who became the aggressor after she rejected his romantic advances.