Son-in-law granted suspended sentence in elderly abuse case

Jeff Lehr, The Joplin Globe, Mo.
·2 min read

May 5—A Joplin man has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and received a suspended sentence in a case involving the neglect of his wife's 86-year-old mother.

Don D. Bedell, 60, pleaded guilty Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court to a count of second-degree assault of a special victim in a plea deal allowing a suspended sentence and probation. The defendant had been facing a count of first-degree domestic assault.

Judge David Mouton accepted the plea agreement and assessed Bedell eight years on the conviction, with execution of the sentence suspended and the defendant placed on supervised probation for five years.

The defendant and his wife, Elisa A. Bedell, 59, were arrested Jan. 7, 2020, after an investigation by Joplin police.

A detective went to the residence where the couple lived with Elisa Bedell's mother to check out a report of possible abuse of an elderly person. The detective wrote in a probable-cause affidavit that she could detect an odor of urine, feces and decomposition coming from the house in the 2600 block of South Kansas Avenue as she was speaking with Elisa Bedell outside the home.

Inside, she purportedly discovered dirty clothes strewn about the floor and furniture and dirty dishes accumulating in the kitchen, with cockroaches crawling all about the floors, walls and countertops. An overwhelming odor greeted the detective as she entered the bedroom where the mother was confined.

The woman appeared to have lain on one side of her bed so long that it had collapsed on that side. The detective described the bed as filthy and noted that the woman had developed "severely infected bedsores and wounds" and was displaying "obvious signs of kidney failure," according to the affidavit.

The victim had to be removed from the home and taken to Freeman Hospital West, according to the affidavit. The daughter's power of attorney with respect to her mother was revoked in Jasper County Circuit Court after the arrests of the couple.

Elisa Bedell, who remains charged with first-degree domestic assault, has a hearing scheduled July 28 and a trial date set in April 2022.