State News

Fired Cherry Hospital workers charged again in beating

Posted January 15, 2009

— A special state prosecutor has reviewed evidence and charged three former workers at the state's Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro with severely beating a psychiatric patient in 2006.

The Medicaid Investigations Unit of the state Attorney General's Office charged James Smith, Billy Wynn and Eric Isler with felonious patient abuse. Misdemeanor assault charges against them were dismissed nearly two years ago.

Noelle Talley, spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, said the men have waived their right to public defenders, indicating they plan to hire private attorneys.

The latest charges resulted from a review of evidence and new information that investigators found, Talley said.

The Medicaid Investigations Unit investigates and prosecutes health care fraud committed by Medicaid providers and the physical abuse of patients and embezzlement of patient funds in Medicaid funded facilities.

Former patient Dean Smith, 45, of Roanoke Rapids, said he was excited that he might get to testify against the men.

"They beat me to a pulp. You don't forget something like that," said Smith. His bruised face was documented in photos taken by the hospital's police department.

Smith was being treated for bipolar disorder. He said he was punched and kicked and then coached to say he hurt himself in a fall.

The new charges were filed Jan. 5 by special prosecutor Doug Thoren of the attorney general's office, who obtained guilty verdicts last year against two other Cherry workers for beating a patient.

Talley said the Justice Department is pursuing several more cases involving state mental hospitals.


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  • CrewMax Jan 15, 2009

    Sounds like Nurse Ratchett is in charge. Pretty scarey. Hope there is a thorough investigation.

  • FragmentFour Jan 15, 2009

    I'd be interested in a link to the previous articles on this story - mainly one that will lead to an explanation of why the original charges were ever dropped.

  • outlandish18 Jan 15, 2009

    I just wander how they kept their jobs when there was a suspicion that they had beaten a patient 2 years ago. Mental health needs to stop taking a back seat to every thing else in the political world.

  • LaLa-Land Jan 15, 2009

    This is beyond horrible that it was a chamber of torture for the very people who need compassion the most.

  • boomylar Jan 15, 2009

    wow my husband's uncle has been back and forth from there alot in the mast 5 years...i wonder if anything like this happened to him, or people he knew from there

  • oldrebel Jan 15, 2009

    Sounds like a bunch of animals were overseeing the patients there.

  • St Ives Jan 15, 2009

    New information, not really, just now decieded to do the right thing.

  • familyfour Jan 15, 2009

    it's not NEW information.....they just happened to SEE it this time around....

  • Angel67 Jan 15, 2009

    wow, how much more is going to come out about this place? feel sorry for the good workers at Cherry