The case of a 60-year-old Davenport woman accused of leaving her elderly mother on the floor for four days now heads toward a trial process.
Barbara Steen, who appeared Wednesday in Scott County Court, did not answer when the judge asked her whether she wanted to plead guilty because she was indeed guilty.
Barbara Steen faces a charge of dependent adult abuse – intentional physical injury. Police say she and her sister did not give food or water to their 86-year-old mother who was left lying on the floor for four days back in March, arrest affidavits say.
Court records say Barbara and her sister were caretakers for their mother, who has dementia. The mother fell on the living room floor and was unable to get up without help in their Davenport residence. Police say the sisters left their ailing mother on the floor for at least four days before they called for medical attention on March 25, affidavits say.
During the time the elderly woman was on the floor, her daughters did not feed her, give her water or change her adult diapers, affidavits say.
The mother was incoherent and had pressure ulcers on her face and left side of her body when medics arrived.
Both sisters originally were charged in this case. On July 11, the state dismissed the case against Barbara’s sister Beverly, 66, saying “The Defendant has numerous health issues and appears to have cognitive disabilities. She should not return to the jail under these conditions. The defendant cannot be placed in an alternative health facility with this criminal case pending.”
Judge Thomas Reidel asked Barbara “Are you guilty? Is that why you’re pleading guilty?” After she conferred briefly with her attorney, it was her lawyer who answered: “She did not intentionally harm her mother.”
The plea hearing stopped, and the judge set pretrial conferences for Sept. 2. That’s when attorneys and the judge will work out the details of the upcoming trial.
Class C felonies usually are punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000.
Originally, a trial was set to begin Monday, but now it will be set later.