March 4, 2024
March 4, 2024
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Nursing home resident sentenced to 45 years for murder, rape of 80-year-old invalid

A 61-year-old Indianapolis nursing home resident was sentenced Thursday to 45 years in prison for the murder and rape of an 80-year-old invalid last year.

Dwayne Freeman learned his sentence after pleading guilty June 8 for the crimes against Patricia Newnum at the nursing home where they both lived.

A judge sentenced Freeman to 45 years on the murder charge and 30 years on the rape charge, with the terms to be served concurrently.

Court documents say an employee at Homestead Healthcare Center entered Newnum’s room to give her medication on the morning of Feb. 2, 2022. She saw Freeman naked and lying on top of Newnum while holding a pillow over her face.

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Documents say Freeman admitted to having sex with Newnum, but said it was consensual. It wasn’t clear why Freeman was a resident of the nursing home.

The Marion County Coroner’s Office ruled Newnum died of asphyxiation by smothering.

Newnum’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Homestead, which is owned by Adams County Memorial Hospital, a small hospital in northeast Indiana. The hospital contracts with Cincinnati-based CommuniCare to operate the facility.

The lawsuit claims the woman’s death was the “inevitable result” of poor staffing and horrible conditions at the facility.

A spokesperson for Homestead said it does not comment on pending litigation.

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