TULSA, Okla. – A Tulsa County judge has dismissed a manslaughter charge against a man who was accused of culpable negligence in an 84-year-old woman’s death on an assisted-living facility’s bus last year.
The Tulsa World reports that 25-year-old Johnathan Kendrick was charged in December with second-degree manslaughter in the Aug. 28 death of Mary Schlecht, a resident of the Brookdale Tulsa Midtown facility.
Court records show District Judge James Caputo dismissed the count at the state’s cost during Kendrick’s hearing Monday.
Prosecutors plan to appeal his decision.
Officials say Kendrick did not do a proper headcount when the bus arrived back at the center after a field trip.
Kendrick allegedly parked the bus and locked the doors, not knowing Schlecht was still on the bus.
28 hours later, her body was found in the stairwell on the bus.
Temperatures at the time of her death were in the mid-90’s.
According to policy, Schlecht was supposed to be checked on three different times, but no one ever looked for her.
The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office determined Schlecht died of hyperthermia and that her death was accidental, but police logged her death as Tulsa’s 75th homicide of 2016.
“There has been no testimony by the government that the defendant did not perform his duties of driving the bus outside of the usual and ordinary care,” Burgess wrote. “There was no testimony that was presented to court that the defendant had any unlawful intent,” said Shena Burgess, Kendrick’s attorney.
A wrongful-death lawsuit has been filed by Williams against Kendrick, Brookdale, and others.