A 52-year-old Cahokia woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for criminal neglect of an elderly person.
That neglect led to Dorothy Cooper’s death, an autopsy showed.
Cooper’s caregiver, Lisa Luckett, “knowingly as a caregiver ... failed to keep Dorothy Cooper from suffering malnutrition,” nor did she provide hygiene and medical care, according to the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office. Luckett pleaded guilty to the class 2 felony of criminal neglect of an elderly person.
“Eventually she was found with bed sores all the way down to the bone, and severely malnourished,” said Daniel Lewis, assistant state’s attorney. “She passed away based on that lack of care.”
Luckett’s attorney said after the sentencing that the caregiver status was not solid.
“If the case would have gone to trial whether she qualified as a caregiver or not would have been a bone of contention,” said Justin Kuehn, of Belleville.
Cooper died March 21, 2012, at age 62 after being found in cardiac arrest at the home she shared with Luckett, according to the prosecutor. He said Cooper had a number of long-term illnesses and had shared the home with Luckett as her caregiver since 2006. Luckett was arrested on July 11, 2013.
Lewis said Cooper’s family was satisfied with the charges that were filed as well as the resolution of the case. He said Cooper’s family has an “understanding that Luckett has problems of her own.”
Luckett did not have a prior criminal history, but after her arrest she was charged in federal court with Medicaid fraud and was found guilty, Lewis said. She will serve sentences concurrently, first being eligible for release in late 2017.
“She’s got some serious medical conditions,” Kuehn said.
“We hope this ... sends a message to those caring for the sick and aged among us that they should take those responsibilities very seriously,” Lewis said.