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This morning two men were sentenced to time already served, after jury trials decided two different cases in which both men were accused of badly handling the same autistic patient, in San Diego County.

The Honorable Blaine Bowman, who heard both trials -- one immediately after the other -- sentenced Michael Dale Garritson to one year in jail today, May 20, 2013.

Sixty-two-year-old Garritson has been held in custody since he became aware of the accusations against him and surrendered himself to the Sheriff, on September 19, 2013. A jury recently found him guilty of two felonies, both for the same act in which Garritson took his patient by the hair and directed him to the ground.

Because Garritson already has enough “custody credits” to fulfill the one-year-sentence, it is expected that he will be immediately released and begin his 3 year probationary term, which was also imposed today. Garritson could have gotten as much as four years in prison.

Michael Garritson is due back in court August 28, 2013 for a “restitution hearing.” The accuser, Mrs. Kim Oakley, mother of the 24-year-old autistic patient, wants $910 for “massage therapy” and thousands of dollars in other restitution, according to statements in court today.

The other defendant, Matthew Alexander McDuffie, 29, was released from custody last week, immediately after a jury acquitted him of all six felonies with which he had been charged. The jury did find McDuffie guilty of two misdemeanors, both essentially for the same act, also an incident in which he took hold of the same patient by his hair.

Today Judge Bowman sentenced McDuffie to one year jail, the maximum penalty for one misdemeanor. McDuffie had also been held in custody since accusations first arose in September of last year, therefore he also had enough custody credits to satisfy the one-year-sentence declared today. McDuffie was not put on probation.

Both defendants were accused of mistreating a disabled man in their care in July and August of 2012, in the patient’s home in Valley Center, California. Both defendants were homecare nurses who worked 12-hour shifts with a patient whom everyone described as “amazingly strong” and who beat himself with his own fists in what was termed “self-injurious-behavior.” The situation was even more difficult because the patient had an infectious disease called MRSA and would bite at the hands of persons who tried to restrain him, according to testimony at both trials.

The parents of the autistic patient, Mark and Kim Oakley, installed a camera in the bedroom of their disabled son, and video clips were used as evidence during trial.

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Comments

scottcle May 20, 2013 @ 3:23 p.m.

Truly a sad outcome not only for the autistic man but anyone who is disabled. More children are being diagnosed within the autistic spectrum disorder at an alarming rate.

Then there's the elderly population that is growing, too. Nurses like these two sure do not help and slaps on the wrist like in most crimes do not deter the soon-to-be abusers.

As a society we have so much to learn but not here today.

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