CHATHAM — The prosecution presented graphic and disturbing imagery during a trial of a woman accused of felony homicide and elder abuse and neglect in the death of her mother in Pittsylvania County last year.
The victim, 74-old Eileen Myers, had several bed sores and pressure ulcers on her body and was left lying in her own waste while under the care of her daughter, Shannon Tipton, the prosecution claimed Monday in Pittsylvania County Circuit Court.
“Shannon Tipton let her mother, Eileen Myers, rot to death in her own home,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Alexis Johnson told the court during opening statements in the case against Shannon Tipton.
Tipton pleaded not guilty to both charges in court Monday.
She had to be taken to the Sovah Health-Danville emergency room on April 2, 2020, and maggots were found in her private area, Johnson said. She was taken to the hospital again and admitted on April 28, 2020. She was later taken to Riverside Health and Rehabilitation Center before being put in hospice care, where she later died.
But Tipton’s attorney Michael Nicholas pointed out that Tipton provided medical care for Myers and was the one calling 911 for her. Tipton “cared for Eileen Myers more than anyone else,” he said.
Someone who was neglectful, someone who did not care would not go to the lengths that Shannon Tipton went to to make sure Myers received treatment, Nicholas told the court.
Myers, who had Alzheimer’s disease, was unable to get out of bed. She lived with Shannon Tipton, Tipton’s daughter, Brianna Tipton, and Shannon Tipton’s granddaughter on Oak Hill Road in southwestern Pittsylvania County.
Johnson said when Shannon Tipton called 911, she avoided having emergency personnel come to the home.
The home was in terrible condition, the prosecution pointed out, with dogs in the house feces, and flies, said Pittsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Haskins.
On May 7, 2020, an investigator with the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office and an official with Pittsylvania County Adult Protective Services went to the home to talk to Tipton and smelled animal feces and urine from outside the house, Johnson said.
“The smell was so overwhelming, they were having a visceral reaction to it,” Johnson said.
Shannon Tipton faces five to 40 years in prison, if convicted. The trial continues Tuesday.