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Nurse trial on course to start in November

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From page A1 | October 02, 2013 | Leave Comment

The trial date was confirmed by both defense and prosecution in a Monday hearing for the case of the former El Dorado Care Center director of nurses charged with elder abuse in connection with the death of a patient.

Judge Daniel B. Proud confirmed with defense attorney Patrick Hanly and prosecutor Deputy Attorney General Steven Muni that the trial for Donna Palmer, estimated to last 15 days, was still to start on Nov. 5.

However, there was a bone of contention for Hanly: He had subpoened documents and had yet to receive them. Specifically, he had asked for an interview of Donna Pielin, one of the employees of the care center who previously testified against Palmer, with the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians.

Muni came prepared for this, however, and called Samantha Mauldin to testify during the hearing. Mauldin, the custodian of records for the case and a representative for the BVNTP, said there was no such interview. The only interview they had done was in 2012, a document that Hanly said he already had. “The board did not open the case until 2012,” she said.

Proud asked if the testimony took care of Hanly’s problem, to which he replied he was “now thoroughly confused.”

Despite this, the hearing wrapped with continuing the readiness and settlement hearing to Oct. 14 for more administrative matters.

Palmer was charged with elder abuse after patient Johnnie Esco, 77, died after receiving care at El Dorado Care Center, where Palmer was director of nurses in 2008. Esco’s husband, Don, testified against Palmer before dying on Oct. 8, 2012. A former co-defendant, Rebecca Smith, a nurse working under Palmer, took a plea deal of five years of probation on condition that she testify against Palmer.

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