Ohio patient charged with murder in hospital death

A Cleveland man who had just come out of a 27-day coma and "didn't know where he was or who he was" was indicted Thursday on charges that he beat to death his partially paralyzed roommate at a rehabilitation hospital.

Rudy Litto IV, 41, faces charges of murder, felonious assault and vandalism in the Nov. 12 attack on 69-year-old Danny Brown. Investigators said Brown's trachea was forced out, he had cuts on his face and head and his eye was swollen shut.

Litto's attorney, Daniel Chaplin, said Litto's coma was caused by an infection and that "didn't know where he was or who he was." He said employees at Kindred Hospital in Cleveland should have known he might be combative and should have restrained or monitored him.

Authorities said Litto used an orthopedic bar, a pole and a telephone receiver to assault Brown, who was paralyzed on the right side of his body from a stroke. Brown died Nov. 24.

"The real crime here was that he was left alone in the hospital when they knew that he was delirious," Chaplin said. "Someone took his restraints off and left him alone, and we are going to find out who and why."

Kindred Hospital said in a statement that it has launched an internal investigation and is helping police with their investigation. It called the death "a sad an unfortunate situation" and said patient care and safety is its top concern.

Chaplin said Litto still has mental difficulties, doesn't know what happened and is being held in the medical unit at the county jail. He faces a Tuesday arraignment and intends to plead not guilty.

Litto has served prison time because he has drug problems and was in one bar fight, his lawyer said, but he is "not a killer of poor, innocent guys."