Family could get 30 years in prison for mothers neglectful death - WFLA News Channel 8

Family could get 30 years in prison for mother's neglectful death

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For three years, 66-year-old Mary Winston lived bedridden in her Tampa house, suffering from a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis.

Her family cared for her, but she died under their care.

"She had open sores that contained maggots.  She had a large open sore on her side that exposed a portion of her rib cage," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Spokesman Det. Larry McKinnon.

Winston's husband, 67-year-old Osmond M. Winston, and three grown children are now charged with aggravated manslaughter of the elderly.  Osmond M. Winston and his daughters, Belinda and Hyacinth Winston, had a first appearance hearing before a Hillsborough County judge Thursday morning. 

Judge set bond for each of them at $100,000. Prosecutor said the first degree felony charge of "aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person" can be punished by a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Detectives have a warrant out for the arrest of Winston's adult son, Osmond Ignatius Winston.

Judy Boatwright lives across the street from the Winston family on Airview Drive.

"They were exceptionally nice to us, just a run of the mill family.  I mean you would never believe anything like that," Boatwright said.  "If they had just gone around and said 'hey, we need some help', maybe it would have made a difference."

Boatwright heard the woman didn't have health insurance, which she says may explain why her family didn't hire outside help.

"It eventually got to the point, where they knew that the neglect was of such a severe nature, that they became afraid to report it because they knew they would have some criminal liability in it," said McKinnon.

The woman passed away in the house in October, but detectives say there's a reason it has taken this long to bring charges.  McKinnon says investigators were waiting for a report from the medical examiner and a toxicology exam, before filing charges against her relatives.

"There is that old saying that we have heard in the past, you don't want to rush to judgment.  So we did everything that we possibly can rather than arrest someone prematurely", said McKinnon.

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