A Yolo County jury has convicted a caregiver of second-degree murder in the death of a 66-year-old man who had developmental disabilities.
James Mattos, 53, of Davis, also was found guilty of elder abuse likely to cause great bodily harm or death, and theft from an elder or dependent adult, according a District Attorney’s Office news release.
On Oct. 12, 2012, the Davis Fire Department responded to a call regarding a man who was unconscious. Firefighters found the victim, Cecil Wachholtz, at his home on a bare mattress, dressed only in a dirty adult diaper. Wachholtz was developmentally disabled and Mattos was his caregiver.
Authorities said Wachholtz was emaciated and covered with bed sores on three sides of his body. Garbage and animal feces were strewn throughout the mobile home where he lived.
Firefighters rushed Wachholtz to Sutter Davis Hospital, where he was diagnosed with severe malnourishment, dehydration and hypothermia, with a body temperature of 86 degrees.
Wachholtz never regained consciousness and died on Oct. 27, 2012. The Yolo County coroner determined that he died as a result of neglect from his caregiver.
Yolo County sheriff’s detectives investigated the case.
Authorities said an uncle had established a trust for Wachholtz’s care years ago. By the end of Wachholtz’s life, the trust had a value of more than $200,000 and Mattos was receiving $2,500 per month to provide medical care, prescriptions, food and shelter. Authorities said Mattos had not taken Wachholtz to a doctor since 2008. Mattos reportedly described Wachholtz as “just and old man dying.”
Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock, who presided over the trial, is scheduled to sentence Mattos on May 16. Authorities said Mattos faces 37 years to life in prison.