Bail set at $50,000 for woman accused of trying to suffocate 97-year-old

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 09, 2011, at 8:32 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A judge on Wednesday set bail at $50,000 for the woman accused of attempting to suffocate an elderly female patient at a Bangor nursing home on Sunday.

District Court Judge Jessie B. Gunther set the bail amount and conditions for Jodi Lynn Holmes, 49, of Bangor during a hearing at the Penobscot Judicial Center. Holmes appeared by videoconference from the Penobscot County Jail.

“The victim is 97 years old,” Michael Roberts, the deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, told Gunther.

Holmes is currently on federal probation for a series of bomb threats she made in 2007 and is barred from going into nursing homes because “she has made threats to harm elderly individuals,” Roberts said.

Even if Holmes is able to come up with the $50,000 cash bail, she is not going anywhere. A federal arrest warrant was filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday charging her with violating conditions of her supervised release and asking that it be revoked.

After an investigation into Sunday’s assault that involved Bangor police and the U.S. Probation Office, Holmes was charged Monday with Class B felony aggravated assault. If convicted of the charge, Holmes could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

Police said Holmes, who has a long history of mental illness, went into the victim’s room at Bangor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Texas Avenue around 1:15 p.m. Sunday and found the woman alone, sitting in her wheelchair.

She took off the elderly woman’s glasses, sat on her legs to hold her down, took the pillow off her roommate’s bed and pushed it tightly against the victim’s face, according to a police affidavit.

The victim, who cannot hear and can speak only very softly, “said she was terrified and could not breathe at all,” the affidavit said.

A staff member delivering meals found the woman “slumped in her wheelchair and she looked very pale and ashy,” the affidavit said. It also said the nursing home had “lots of people visiting” that day and was locked down after the assault.

The victim and people working at the nursing home described the attacker as a heavyset woman with shoulder-length dark graying hair who was wearing a red coat and pink “moon boots” with Velcro straps.

From the description the victim and witnesses gave, police suspected that Holmes was the woman involved, U.S. District Court documents state. She wouldn’t open her door for Bangor police, but did open it for two U.S. Probation Office officers, who found a pair of pink boots in her apartment matching those worn by the attacker. A photo lineup was conducted for the victim and she identified Holmes as the woman who attacked her, the federal court documents state.

Holmes is on federal probation as a result of her 2008 conviction for writing and mailing bomb threats that shut down three area schools. She sent the bomb threats, signing them with the name “Radar,” in March 2007 to Hampden Academy, Bangor Christian Schools and John Bapst Memorial High School.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Holmes to 2 years in federal prison for the bomb threats and also placed her on 3 years of supervised release.

Holmes violated conditions of her supervised release in June 2009 when she made several verbal threats at Eastern Maine Medical Center indicating she wanted to use “chlorine gas at the Bangor Mall and has urges to kill people at her church,” the federal court documents state.

When questioned by police about the threats, she said she was taking diverted anti-anxiety pills as a “drug to get high.” Her supervised release conditions bar her from breaking the law, and she was sentenced in July 2009 to 6 months in jail and another 2½ years of supervised release, the federal court documents state.

In addition to the $50,000 bail, Gunther also told Holmes not to return to the nursing home, not to contact the victim and “not to enter any nursing home or assisted living facility.” She set an April disposition conference for Holmes.

When Bangor police Detective Tim Cotton went back to the nursing home to inform the victim that Holmes had been arrested, the woman asked him why she had attacked her.

“I told her that I did not know for sure why she was selected,” he said in the affidavit. “She began to cry and say thank you over and over again.”

The 97-year-old also gave him a hug.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/02/09/news/bangor/bail-set-at-50000-for-woman-accused-of-trying-to-suffocate-97-year-old/ printed on July 26, 2014