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Elderly Patient with Dementia Killed by Roommate in Nursing Home

The alleged killer, who also has dementia, was admitted to a hospital for further evaluation after being assessed by a court clinician.

Elderly Patient with Dementia Killed by Roommate in Nursing Home

The 85-year-old victim was transferred to a local hospital where he later died.

An elderly dementia patient was beaten to death by his roommate in a Massachusetts nursing home earlier this week.

The victim, 86-year-old James Schappell, was bludgeoned with a heavy ceramic flower pot that was being used as a trash can. He was transported to the Boston Medical Center on Tuesday morning and died Wednesday night, reports The Patch.

The alleged killer, 58-year-old Walter Rice, is also a dementia patient at the CareOne nursing home facility in Randolph.

Rice was originally charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person over 65. The charge will likely be upgraded now that Schappell has died, according to the Patriot Ledger.

Prior to his scheduled arraignment in Quincy District Court, Rice was assessed by a court clinician. Following the assessment, Judge Mark Coven ordered Rice be admitted to Bridgewater State Hospital for further evaluation.

Rice will remain at the hospital until a September 21 competency hearing.

Randolph police officer Stephen Morse says when he arrived at the scene, firefighters had already placed Schappell in an ambulance.

Morse says he called for additional officers to guard Rice while he secured the crime scene, although staff had already cleaned up some of the blood.

Rice was sitting in a different room with blood on his hands. The alleged weapon “was located standing in the upright position next to a dresser”, says a police report.

CareOne, which operates 14 additional nursing homes in Massachusetts, says the company is “fully cooperating with the authorities as they conduct their investigation”.

CareOne provides services for rehabilitation, memory care, respite care, and hospice. The Randolph facility is licensed for 168 beds.

According to records from the Department of Public Health, the Randolph facility was cited for 13 health and safety violations following an inspection this past summer.

Violations include failure to adequately supervise each resident to prevent accidents and failure to ensure the dignity of each resident.

The Department of Public Health says it is conducting an onsite review of the nursing home.

About the Author

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Amy Brennan is the Campus Safety Web Editor. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Education.

She has worked in the publishing industry since 2011, in both events and digital marketing.

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