Home-care worker charged with involuntary manslaughter pleads not guilty

Sherrie Coomer (Source: Cape Girardeau Police Dept.)
Sherrie Coomer (Source: Cape Girardeau Police Dept.)

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - A Cape Girardeau home-care worker charged with involuntary manslaughter after the coroner found maggots in the body of her patient waived her arraignment and pleaded not guilty Monday in Division 2 court.

Sherrie Gail Coomer, 53, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the second degree in connection with the death of Patricia Joan Langston who died on Oct. 23, 2011.

After Langston's death, Cape Girardeau County Coroner John Clifton found maggots in the bedsores on Langston's body.

The doctor who performed the autopsy determined Langston died from sepsis resulting from extensive decubitus ulcers, which typically comes from inadequate or insufficient turning or repositioning of a patient.

According to the probable cause statement, Langston's body smelled of decomposition when she was removed from her home after she died.

Langston had a history of medical problems and had a live-in caregiver for the past three years. Coomer was hired to stay with Langston 24 hours a day, seven days a week to perform daily activities like grooming, bathing, ensuring she had her medication, taking her to doctor's appointments and overall care.

Coomer told police that for the three months before Langston's death, around August 2011, Langston had been confined to a recliner in her living room. Coomer told police she was unable to get Langston out of the chair because Langston could not stand and had difficulty properly cleaning her when Langston had a bowel movement. She also had difficulty moving Langston because she previously had a stroke.

An autopsy revealed ulcers and skin breakdown on much of her backside.

Coomer told police she blamed herself as the person most responsible for the condition of Langston's body and wished she had done things differently.

Involuntary manslaughter carries up to four years in prison, according to the Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor's Office. Coomer's bond is set at $5,000.

Coomer remains out of custody in bond.  She is due back in court on March 26.

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