A Tucson woman is facing up to 13.75 years in prison after admitting she abused and stole from a bedridden woman who later died.
In addition to pleading guilty to vulnerable adult abuse and attempted theft/financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, Lea Marie Hughes, 37, also pleaded guilty to abusing one of her children. Hughes could receive probation or prison on two of the charges, but is facing a mandatory prison sentence of between one year and 2.5 years for abusing Ruthann Jacox during a four-year period.
Hughes was arrested last August after Jacox, 64, was hospitalized with deep, open bedsores that had become infected.
Jacox told police Hughes and Hughes' boyfriend, Gilbert Pierre Peralta Jr., gave her limited food and liquid, rarely bathed her and failed to see to her other needs. The woman told detectives she'd been outside twice in the last year and has not seen a doctor in over a year. She kept a diary documenting the abuse she suffered and authorities later discovered the couple had also depleted Jacox's bank accounts and credit cards.
Hughes was charged with child abuse because police found garbage, maggot-infested rotten food and dog feces, urine and vomit throughout the victim's three-bedroom eastside home.
Peralta is scheduled to go to trial Dec. 4.
Assistant Arizona Attorney General Jesse Delaney said Hughes’ three children, including a baby born in jail, are currently in state CPS custody.
Jacox died Nov. 8, but doctors could not determine if she died as a result of neglect or multiple sclerosis, Delaney said.
Pima County Superior Court Judge Richard Fields will sentence Hughes Aug. 30.
Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or email@example.com