GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ/AP) – A prosecutor says charges won’t be brought after an 84-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease died at a West Michigan veterans’ facility following an attack by another patient.
Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth on Thursday said he saw no gain in prosecuting the 86-year-old man who punched Andrew Robinson Ball in April, The Grand Rapids Press reported.
Ball, who served in World War II, died several days after the attack at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. An autopsy said the cause of death was medical complications due to blunt force trauma.
Forsyth indicated that given the suspected attacker’s age and “extent of his dementia” there was nothing to be gained by charging him in the death.
The attack apparently happened after Ball got out of his bed and left his room, then entered the room across the hallway and tried to climb in another patient’s bed.
That patient, the 86-year-old man, “then punched Mr. Ball with enough force to cause a bloody nose and mouth,” according to investigators. Ball was taken to a local hospital for treatment, but returned to the veteran’s home the same day.
Veteran’s home staff told police it was not uncommon for Ball to become disoriented, wander the halls and even enter other patients’ rooms.
In a written opinion, Forsyth said he saw no point in pursuing charges.
“Both Mr. Ball and the suspect had honorably and proudly served our nation during World War II,” he wrote. “Regrettably, late in life, Alzheimer’s robbed them of their dignity, their independence and their memories. In reality, it stole from them, their family and their friends, the essence of who they were.”
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