New details in alleged nursing home murder - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

New details in alleged nursing home murder

Nita Lowery Nita Lowery

Brattleboro, Vermont -- January 18, 2012

"Our lives were very much enriched by having her around for a long time," John Lowery said of his mother.

But according to police, the life of 83-year-old Nita Lowery was wrongfully cut short.

"She gave us faith and a set of rules to live by all her life," John Lowery said.

On Tuesday, Jodi LaClaire, 37, of Bennington, N.H., was formally charged with Nita Lowery's murder. LaClaire was a nursing assistant the Thompson House nursing home in Brattleboro where Nita Lowery lived. Her only son, John, was in court for the hearing.

"Difficult. Can't really say much more than that," he said.

According to court documents, LaClaire was a diabetic and carried an insulin shot. Police say in the spring of 2009, LaClaire injected Lowery with insulin, causing her to fall into a coma and die 10 days later. Police say during that time, LaClaire tried to withdraw $8,000 of Lowery's money.

"It feels like we have been walking around throughout our lives in a question mark," John Lowery said.

Adding to the confusion, court papers state another resident at the Thompson House was taken to the hospital two weeks prior to Lowery for hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. The coincidence startled doctors. Court papers quoted one, saying, "He added that... the fact that there were two cases of profound hypoglycemia in approximately two weeks, in two people who were not diabetic, was of great concern to the hospital."

The other person recovered and LaClaire is not charged in connection with that incident.

"I know my mother would want somebody held accountable," John Lowery said. "She's not a vengeful woman; she wouldn't want to see someone unjustly persecuted. But she would want to see justice served."

Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell says the murder charge-- which came well over two years after the incident-- took so long because it's a complex case and multiple out-of-state medical experts were needed.

"I can't believe the work that they have done," John Lowery said. "The technical skills they used, the time that they have spent and the energy and focus and commitment. I am glad they are working for the good guys."

Being good is how Nita Lowery lived her life-- a devout Catholic and a mentor to all who knew her.

"It doesn't seem as though this kind of thing should happen to this family," John Lowery said.

LaClaire is being held on $150,000 bail. She pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge. There are also 16 other counts against her relating to the alleged use of the Lowery's credit card. Officials from the Attorney General office say the case will likely be tried together.

Nursing home officials are fully cooperating with the investigation. Officials there released a statement Tuesday acknowledging that it is a terrible situation and saying that they take the welfare of their residents very seriously. WCAX News contacted them Wednesday but they declined further comment.

Click here to read the affidavit against Jodi LaClaire.

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Vt nursing assistant faces murder charges

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