Charges against a 50-year-old Salt Lake City man, who let his father live in inhumane conditions that ultimately caused the elderly man’s death, were dropped Monday after prosecutors learned the defendant has died.
Alfonso Patrick Moya Jr. had pleaded guilty in May to third-degree felony charges of abuse of a vulnerable adult and selling his father’s pain medication. He faced up to 10 years in prison and had been scheduled to be sentenced multiple times over the last several months.
But Moya’s deteriorating health postponed the sentencing. On more than one occasion, he did not show up to court because he was in the hospital, according to records.
When he did appear in 3rd District Court, he went in and out of the courtroom in a wheelchair and carried what appeared to be an oxygen tank.
Moya’s attorney, Andrea Garland, declined to comment Tuesday on the cause of her client’s death. She said she believes he died sometime in July.
Moya was charged in December 2011, about five months after his father, Alphonso Patricio Moya Sr., was brought into the Veterans Administration hospital on July 15, 2011, covered in urine and feces.
After the elderly man was washed, doctors found bedsores on his heels, legs and backside — including a wound the size of "two fists," according to charging documents.
The 72-year-old man died the next day. Medical examiners determined the death was a homicide caused by dehydration, malnutrition and bedsores due to improper care.
Officers who searched the home where the elder and younger Moya lived said the house smelled of death and cleaning chemicals. They found a bed, linens and carpets stained with urine and feces.
In an interview with Detective Michael Hardin, the junior Moya said he had not bathed his father in weeks, possibly as long as a month, before he was taken to the hospital, according to testimony given at a preliminary hearing, at which prosecutors laid out evidence against Alfonso Patrick Moya.
But Garland had argued that it was not Moya’s intention to harm his father.
He didn’t care for the elderly man, she said, because he was unable to do so.
Earlier in the year, Garland said, the father had been in a care facility for several months before he was discharged to live with his son.
The son’s own health problems proved problematic in trying to care for his parent, the defense attorney said.
Making matters worse, Garland said, was the elder Moya’s attitude, resistance to care and depression.
The man would sometimes refuse to get out of bed, use the toilet or change his clothes, she said.
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