2011-01-27 / Local & State

Caretaker Charged In Down Syndrome Patient Death

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (AP) – Charges have been filed in the death of a central Pennsylvania Down syndrome patient who died while struggling with a caretaker.

State police say 39-yearold Joseph Easton was restraining 37-year-old Timothy Smith at the Guilford Township, Franklin County care home when Smith’s breathing was cut off on September 9.

Investigators say the victim had charged Easton and clawed at his eyes before Easton flipped Smith facedown and pinned him down. State police say Smith alternately struggled and relaxed under Easton’s grip until other staff members arrived.

Workers at the home told police Smith had a history of violence and would frequently pretend to be asleep or unresponsive.

Easton was arraigned Tuesday on an involuntary manslaughter and released on bail. A call to his attorney was not immediately returned Thursday.

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