The criminal charges against a former owner of a now shuttered group home were dismissed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Wednesday, but the prosecutor’s office said it plans to reindict the case.
Pamela Shay, 60, had been charged with the death of two men in her care who died in 2008 as a result of excessive heat. In July, she was indicted on two counts each of involuntary manslaughter and recklessly failing to provide for a functionally impaired person. She had faced up to 23 years in prison for those charges.
Assistant County Prosecutor Kevin Pituch asked that the case against Ms. Shay be dismissed Wednesday. He said that the statute used to charge Ms. Shay was later determined not to be appropriate.
Instead, the office plans to return to the Lucas County grand jury with similar facts. If indicted, however, Ms. Shay would face two counts of involuntary manslaughter of a lower felony degree.
Specifically, she would face two third-degree felonies instead of first-degree felonies, he said. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a first-degree felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The allegations revolve around of the deaths of two men, Thomas Calhoun, 47, and John Jones, 79, in 2008.
Toledo Police responded to the group home at 1577 Bow St., off Western Avenue, on the afternoon of June 9, 2008, on a report of two unresponsive males.
Mr. Calhoun was found dead in an upstairs bedroom, where authorities said the temperature measured 90.5 degrees.
Mr. Jones, his roommate, died the following week in the University of Toledo Medical Center, formerly the Medical College of Ohio. His temperature was measured at 105.5 degrees when he arrived at the hospital, the Lucas County coroner’s office said at the time of the incident.
Mr. Pituch explained that although Ms. Shay owned the group home, by statute she does not fall under the legal definition of “caregiver.” That means that the case has to be indicted as a lower felony.
He added that the prosecutor’s office discovered the discrepancy while preparing for the case.
“We went to the court to dismiss the case because we have that obligation,” he said, noting he intends to return the case to the grand jury within 30 days.
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