UTICA, N.Y. – A 61-year-old man was sentenced Friday to four years in state prison for allowing his 89-year-old mother to starve to death.
David Auchmoody of Whitestown pleaded guilty in March to criminally negligent homicide in the death of Edith Auchmoody in February 2007.
Auchmoody was scheduled to stand trial for second-degree manslaughter before reaching a plea deal with prosecutors. If he had been convicted at trial, Auchmoody could have faced 5 to 15 years behind bars.
Even as he was sentenced in Oneida County Court, David Auchmoody continued to insist that he did nothing wrong regarding his mother's death and was following her wishes to be left alone.
"I love my mother very much" Auchmoody said in court. "I tried everything I could do to do everything she asked me to do. I thought I was doing the right thing."
Judge Barry Donalty told Auchmoody that he will have to live "knowing that your mother, in the last days of her life, suffered a horrible death."
"No human being in their right mind would have wanted that kind of suffering."
An autopsy showed Edith Auchmoody had wasted away to nearly 50 lbs. before "rotting to death" from untreated bed sores and a fatal bone infection. Investigators said she died atop a pile of soiled air mattresses in a bedroom that had cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and was piled waist-high with garbage.
Auchmoody said he was "embarrassed" about the way his mother had lived, so he washed her and dressed her before reporting her death in February to a local funeral home. The funeral home reported Edith Auchmoody's death to police.
Assistant District Attorney Kurt Hameline said that state law required David Auchmoody to step in when he realized his mother's condition had deteriorated so much that she was unable to contact anyone for help or medical assistance.
"He said he was just carrying out his mother's wishes," Hameline said. "Well, I'm sure she didn't want to die in those conditions, and I'm sure she didn't want to die the painful death that she did.