Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Aug. 28
Homecare nurse accused of felonies was found guilty of two misdemeanors
Matthew McDuffie denied that he mishandled his autistic patient
The judge ordered a man who had been accused of six felonies to be immediately released from custody, after the jury today announced him guilty of only two misdemeanors. The defendant was acquitted of all felony charges.
Matthew Alexander McDuffie, 28, was arrested in September of 2012 after he was accused of badly handling a 23-year-old disabled man in his care. Defendant McDuffie has been held in lieu of $1 million bail for eight months.
The jury heard testimony for more than two weeks, since April 25, and announced verdicts late today, May 14, 2013. The jury deliberated almost two full days before finding McDuffie “not guilty” of all six felonies.
The two guilty misdemeanors concern an instance in which the caregiver put his hand to the face of the patient, he said he bumped the autistic man trying to distract him from hitting himself. (It was not disputed that the autistic man hurt himself, in what experts termed “self-injurious behavior.”) McDuffie testified in his own defense during trial.
Defense attorney Karolyn Kovtun said of the defendant, “He just wants to have a cheeseburger.”
“Personally, I don’t think he’s guilty of anything,” the defense attorney opined, after the verdict was announced.
The prosecutor stated, "It’s disappointing that the jury found him guilty of only two misdemeanors, but they held McDuffie accountable for abusing Jamey."
Attorney Karolyn Kovtun said she expects Matthew McDuffie will be sentenced to time already served.
The mother of the autistic man, Kim Oakley, was a persistent accuser in this case and is expected to speak at the sentencing hearing, scheduled for next Monday.
Honorable Blaine K. Bowman, who heard the trial, will pronounce sentence the morning of May 20, 2013, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.
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- Older man accused of harming autistic man in his care — April 7, 2013