Crime - Sacto 911

Mother, sister of woman who starved plead in Sacramento court

Monique Johnson was 37 years old when she died in 2014. Prosecutors said she died of severe neglect, dehydration and starvation. She weighed 36 pounds.

On Wednesday, Johnson’s mother and sister, charged with the developmentally disabled woman’s care, were convicted in her death in Sacramento Superior Court. Johnson’s mother, Shelia Johnson, 55, pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and faces 15 years to life in state prison in her daughter’s Feb. 12, 2014, death.

Ravetra Nicole Jones, Monique’s sister, pleaded no contest to allegations of involuntary manslaughter and fraud for allowing her sister’s health to fatally deteriorate while continuing to collect thousands of dollars in county money as Monique’s designated caregiver. Jones, 31, faces a sentence of four years, eight months in prison.

Sacramento County prosecutors declined comment Wednesday pending the pair’s scheduled Aug. 26 sentencing before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny, but court documents and a narrative provided by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office shed some light on the disturbing case.

Monique Johnson could neither speak nor walk and lived under her mother’s roof while her sister, Jones, beginning in July 2011, cared for her full time, paid by Sacramento County’s In-Home Supportive Services, or IHSS.

The in-home program, part of the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, is designed to help pay for services that allow people to continue to receive care in their homes, including personal care and protective supervision for the mentally impaired, according to information on its website.

In all, Jones had collected nearly $25,000 from In-Home Supportive Services by the time Johnson died.

Health and Human Services officials, in a statement, called Johnson’s death “very tragic,” but otherwise offered little comment on the case other than to say the program does not employ care providers and that more than 80 percent of providers are family members of those being served.

“The role of the IHSS social worker is to assess an individual’s need for services and to reassess the situation on an annual basis,” the statement read in part.

District attorney’s officials in a statement Wednesday said Jones allowed her sister to waste away while continuing to receive money from the county agency and even as her mother, Shelia Johnson, spurned offers of free services and assistance.

“Various agencies attempted to intervene prior to Monique’s death about concerns over her care,” the district attorney’s statement read. No additional information was provided.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith