Woman pleads guilty to neglect, abuse charge in mother's death

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BRATTLEBORO — A 42-year-old Bellows Falls woman pleaded guilty Thursday to charges she neglected her mother's bedsores to the point of her death.

Nancy Boardman pleaded guilty to a charge of neglect of a vulnerable adult, resulting in serious bodily injury that lead to the death of her mother, Ann Marie Lawlor Boardman, 70, in 2017.

According to statements in Windham Superior Court, Boardman functions with "limitations."

Boardman had originally been charged with manslaughter, but in a plea agreement with the Windham County State's Attorney's office, the charge of involuntary manslaughter was dropped.

Boardman pleaded guilty to the one felony count and two additional charges of reckless disregard of a vulnerable adult, as well as a count of reckless endangerment. As a result, Boardman received a eight-year deferred sentence, and if she follows the conditions of her probation, her record will be cleared after eight years, said Windham County Deputy State's Attorney David Gartenstein. She also received two suspended sentences totaling 22 to 24 months, for the misdemeanor counts.

According to court records, Boardman's 70-year-old mother died from multiple bedsores that became septic."She had previously been bedridden because of a stroke," court documents stated. "The evidence in the case showed that bedsores that became toxic or septic caused her death," said Gartenstein after the court hearing. "Those injuries were obvious, the wounds were apparent. Her caregiver, her daughter, the defendant was aware of them.

"She was obligated to seek medical care in the face of those wounds," he said. "But the evidence did not show that the defendant Nancy Boardman bore any ill will toward her mother, didn't show she had any bad intent toward her mother."

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Gartenstein said Boardman "functions with limitations."

"We needed to balance the very serious nature of the harm that was done and the criminal conduct for all the circumstances of the case," he said. "Jail time was a not a necessary component of the plea agreement, and was not necessary to serve the interests of justice."

As a condition of her probation, Boardman is prohibited from being a caregiver for children, the elderly or any disabled or vulnerable person, unless approved by the Department of Corrections, and under their monitoring and supervision. She will also be placed permanently on the Adult Abuse Registry.

She was also ordered to undergo mental health counseling and to engage in "life skills training" as directed by her probation officer. "It's important for the community to know, that people in need of medical assistance, should receive it," he said.

According to Boardman's interview with the Bellows Falls police, who had investigated Ann Lawlor Boardman's death, her mother hadn't seen a doctor for years, and that because of an insurance problem, the home health agency that had been taking care of her mother stopped coming. "Nancy Boardman was the caregiver, it was her responsibility" to seek care for her mother, he said.

Contact Susan Smallheer

at ssmallheer@reformer.com

or 802 254-2311, ext. 154.


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