Wheelchair-bound man charged in deaths of roommates at nursing home

Published On: Apr 23 2014 04:39:44 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 23 2014 11:23:53 PM CDT

Capital murder charges have been filed in the deaths of two men who were attacked by their roommate at a nursing home. Phil Archer reports.

HOUSTON -

Capital murder charges have been filed in the deaths of two men who were attacked by their roommate at a nursing home.

The men were allegedly beaten to death by Guillermo Correa, 56, who they say attacked them with an arm rest from his wheelchair.

Homicide detectives were called to the Lexington Place Nursing and Rehabilitation facility 1773 North Loop West around 12 a.m. Wednesday.

Police said paramedics were at the facility responding to an unrelated medical call when staff alerted them to another situation in an adjoining room.

"The paramedics went inside and found two males who were badly injured," said Sergeant Ben Williams with the Houston Police Department. "One, in fact, had stopped breathing and was unable to be revived. The other was able to be loaded up and taken next door to Memorial Hermann Northwest, where he was [...] pronounced dead as well."

Family members identified the victims as Primitivo Lopez, 51, and Antonio Acosta, 75.

Acosta's grandson, Sergio Godoy, said his grandfather had been living at the facility for a couple of years and was making progress in his recovery from two strokes.

“He was fine. He was recuperating. He was recuperating real good. To find out something like this, it's devastating,” said Godoy.

Acosta's daughter, Irma Chavez said in the last year, she and her father had asked to have Correa moved out of the room repeatedly, but the home's administrator refused.

She describes Correa as a violent schizophrenic who heard voices, and believed someone was trying to poison him. She said Correa had threatened to kill patients and staff in the past.

She says her father requested Correa be moved as recently as Tuesday.

“He told us, is there a way we can please move that man out of the room. And I said, 'Why?'”Chavez said.

She says her father replied, “He's still very violent, he's still verbal abusive. Can they please move him?”

According to Cecilia Cavuto with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, state regulations do not prohibit mentally and physically handicapped patients from being housed together, but do require staff members protect all patients from any sort of abuse by anyone.

Last Feb. 2, state records show inspectors cited 17 deficiencies at the Lexington, including insufficient care & services.  The state says two of the infractions either caused residents actual harm or put them in jeopardy.

Texas nursing homes accepting Medicare or Medicade are rated on a scale of 0 to 100. The average is score is 67. According to state records, the Lexington is rated at 38.

Administrator Jesse Sias with the facility declined to comment but released this written statement:

"Our first priority is always our residents, their families and our staff. Last night we unexpectedly lost two of our residents. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families. We are cooperating with law enforcement as they conduct their investigation and cannot comment further at this time."

Family members of other residents arrived at the facility this morning after hearing about the death investigation and complained they had not been contacted by the facility's staff.

"I should have been called," Lou Driver, the daughter of a resident told Local 2. "Someone should have called me and said, 'We've had an incident and your mother is fine.' I would have been fine with that.’"

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