Wednesday Jan 19 2011
At sentencing, elder abuse defendant tells victims: ‘Sorry’
By: Lien Hoang, The Press Tribune
They reject apology as scheme for less jail time
A nurse charged with stealing medication from seniors apologized to victims Wednesday but denied abusing drugs, which provoked disbelief from the judge. After her remarks, Marlene Sandra Delp, 64, was handcuffed amid cheers at a Placer County court to begin her 300-day jail sentence. The ruling closed a chapter that began with her August arrest at the Terraces of Roseville, a senior care facility where Delp stole drugs for months. “I disgraced my employer, I disgraced myself,” Delp said in her first public address. But after Delp said she only used medication prescribed to her, judge Frances Kearney said, “Then what the heck was this all about?” “If you weren’t using them for your own purposes, it doesn’t make sense,” Kearney said. A dozen people appeared for Delp’s sentencing, several of them delivering victim impact statements urging Kearney to impose the maximum sentence allowed by a plea deal: a year in jail. “She is not the victim of a drug addiction, she is a sadistic predator,” Terry Humphrey said of Delp, who replaced her usual slacks and tennis shoes for a gray suit. Humphrey said her mother, Johanne DeVoe, underwent “aching, burning, stabbing pain” from shingles she likely developed because Delp stole the Norco medicine she took for a dislocated hip. Prosecutor Jim Deslaurier said the defendant showed a “complete lack of remorse,” despite her later statement that she couldn’t find the words - “remorse, regret, I’m sorry, I apologize” - to express her feelings. “I didn’t believe a word of it,” Carol Bosch said after court was adjourned. Bosch, who said her mother, Rosalie McLain, suffered because Delp refused her Vicodin, accused the nurse of putting on a show to lessen her sentence. Kearney gave Delp three years of probation in addition to her jail sentence, which fell in the middle of a range (8 to 12 months) that the prosecution and defense agreed to. Delp can request alternative sentencing for half of her 300 days, while a restraining order keeps her away from the Terraces and victims indefinitely. Her nursing license has been suspended, and the state Board of Registered Nursing is filing an order to revoke it permanently. Through the agreement with prosecutors, Delp pleaded no contest to felony elder abuse and drug possession, in exchange for having charges of burglary and grand theft dropped. Public defender Bill Boyce said Wednesday that before this crime, Delp “otherwise had an exemplary record,” sending whispers of “That’s not true” rippling through the court audience. The Press Tribune previously reported allegations that Delp abused substances at her employer before the Terraces. She nodded throughout Wednesday’s sentencing, agreeing to much of what others said about her, but suggested that she could have used character witnesses and decided against it. Kearney said that although Delp’s actions were “pretty horrific,” the defendant was “prepared from day one to admit she did something wrong.” Lien Hoang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.