Care home worker enters plea

HUNTINGDON – The caretaker of a Huntingdon County personal care home on Thursday entered a no-contest plea to a charge of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the death of a 70-year-old resident who drowned nearly a year ago.

Huntingdon District Attorney George Zanic said Connie Ann Souders, 63, could be sentenced to a short jail term, noting the charge of involuntary manslaughter is a misdemeanor.

“The guidelines call for a jail [sentence],” Zanic said.

But, Zanic said the important thing to law enforcement – the underlying message – is that those who are operating personal care homes should make sure they have the facility and the staff to care for their residents.

The woman who died, Sally Jean Fultz, 70, was blind and suffering from dementia while living at the Sleepy Hollow Personal Care Center in Tell Township.

Fultz, who had fallen into a creek about 100 yards from the home and drowned, was found by a neighbor.

The incident occurred Oct. 24, 2012.

Zanic said that Souders did nothing in an intentional manner that led to Fultz’s death, but negligence was a factor.

The plea that was presented to Judge Stewart Kurtz did not specify what Souders’ sentence would be.

She entered what is called an “open plea” and will appear Dec. 5 before Kurtz for sentencing.

The Huntingdon District Attorney said that the personal care home accepted Fultz as a resident after another home didn’t believe it could care for her. He said also that the home was not supposed to be accepting new residents because of violations.

Fultz was from Milroy.