Man charged in negligent death of father


Edward O’Brien III

WEST WHITELAND — A township man was charged Wednesday in the negligent death of his 91-year old father in 2013.

Edward O’Brien III was arrested by township police Wednesday and charged with murder in the third degree, theft and other offenses in the death of his father, Edward O’Brien Jr. in September of 2013.

Authorities said that the younger O’Brien, 61, pulled his ailing father out of a rehabilitation center in New Jersey and then failed to provide adequate care for the older man, acts authorities say led directly to his death.

“This was no way for any person to die,” Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said. “If somebody treated an animal so shamefully, everybody would be horrified. The fact that it happened to an elderly man, and was caused by that man’s own son, is inexcusable.”

The events that led to the older man’s death started in 2011, when, authorities said, the older man fell and was injured in his Collingswood, NJ home. After being hospitalized for his injuries the elder O’Brien was taken to Cooper River West Rehab facility, to allow him to continue to get 24-hour care. Allegedly, the younger O’Brien checked his father out of the rehab facility against medical advice, claiming that the family could not pay for care.

However, the ender O’Brien, a retired U.S. Postal Service worker was eligible for a pension and health benefits and had health care through the Veterans Administration as a World War II veteran. Also, authorities said, the elder man and his wife — who died prior to the 2011 incident — had sold their Collingswood home to their son for $1. Also, authorities said, the younger man transferred some $30,000 in funds from the older man’s bank account using his power of attorney.

Authorities said that when the younger O’ Brien checked this father out of the hospital, he was told that his father would need acute care around the clock, 24 hours per day and specific medication, including Lasix, to treat congestive heart failure. But, authorities said, the younger man took his father back to his Collingswood home without any medical care and returned to his own home in Pennsylvania, leaving the sick, older man to fend for himself.

The next day, officers from the Collingswood Police Department reportedly stopped by to check on the well-being of the victim. The police said they discovered that the older manwas not receiving around-the-clock care. Collingswoof police informed the younger O’Brien that they would be reporting the issue to Adult Protective Services. Shortly, thereafter, the younger man brought his father to his township home to live with him.

For the next two years, the the older man lived with his son, authorities said. Just once, they said, was the older man taken for medical care. Except on one occasion, the defendant did not obtain any medical care for the victim or provide his needed medicines.

On Sept. 8, 2013, township police responded to a 911 call from the younger O’Brien. The police found the older man dead at the residence. His body was covered in deep bedsores, feces on his body and the room smelled strongly of feces and urine, police said. The father now weighed only 130 pounds, down from his original weight of 187 pounds at the time of his initial accident.

A subsequent autopsy revealed, authorities said, that the victim died from congestive heart failure and the acute bedsores. Lasix, the victim’s prescribed medication that the defendant had failed to provide for the victim, is specifically intended to prevent fluid build-up caused by congestive heart failure. The mechanism of the victim’s death was fluid build-up in the lungs that caused him to be unable to breathe. The defendant drowned in his own fluids.

The defendant has been charged with Third Degree Murder, Theft, and related offenses.

His bail was set at $150,000 unsecured. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 11, 2015.


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