Case of a Tulsa man charged with elder abuse moves to trial

Thursday, August 14th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Shocking details in the death of an 83-year-old Tulsa woman. Her son, Louis Johnson [pictured], is charged with elder-abuse and must now stand trial.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright was in Tulsa County District Court for Thursday's testimony.

Margarite Johnson lived in a Tulsa house with her son, Louis. Her grandson, Miles visited her back in April and was shocked by her condition. Miles Johnson testified Thursday that his grandmother had the smell of death, so he called 911. Police and paramedics were shocked also. They said she was sitting in a recliner, nearly naked and had smelled like decaying flesh or a corpse.

EMSA worker Raymond Burek testified her legs were swollen as large as his thighs, open, bleeding sores covered her back, her lungs were filled with fluid and she had black, decaying skin hanging from her body. She died three days later.

Tulsa Police detective Tim Lawson testified Margarite's son, Louis was the payee on his mother's social security checks, so he received thousands of dollars as her caregiver. Lawson told the judge, Louis blamed everyone else but himself for his mother's condition and said she'd only gotten worse in the past few days. However, the medical examiner testified that for a person to get in the condition she was in, they'd have to be sitting in one place for more than two weeks.

Louis Johnson's attorney argues a home healthcare worker and a nurse were also responsible for Miss Johnson's care, that her son didn't willingly or intentionally let his mother get into this condition. Neighbors told me they'd called DHS about Miss Johnson's condition, before it got this bad. A DHS worker was on the witness list Thursday, but was not called to testify.

The judge decided there was enough evidence of caretaker abuse and 2nd-degree murder, that he ordered Louis Johnson to stand trial on the charges.