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Assisted living facility owner sentenced to 21 years for killing patient

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(The Center Square)— The partial owner of a Phoenix nursing home is sentenced to 21 years behind bars for murdering a patient.

Valer Catuna was convicted of manslaughter in the beating death of 53-year-old patient William Griswold at the Artemis Adult Care Home, which occurred on Oct. 21, 2020.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, Catuna attacked Griswold, who suffered from a Traumatic Brain Injury from a 2017 car accident, after he asked Catuna for a cigarette, and “the matter escalated.” Following the attack, Catuna neglected to call for help for Griswold for nine hours, so he died from his injuries that night.

“The details of this case are unconscionable. Mr. Griswold deserved better, as all vulnerable adults do,” Attorney General Kris Mayes said in a statement Thursday. “My office will not tolerate fraud and abuse perpetuated against our state’s elderly and vulnerable residents – and those committing these crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Catuna was originally charged in March 2021 with two different felonies, second-degree murder and vulnerable elder abuse. He pled guilty to manslaughter in May and was subsequently given the maximum sentence possible.

Although the facility has a 4.3-star rating on SeniorCare.com, as well as Google, three of those reviews 3 of those reviews, appear to be from Valer or another member of the Catuna family.

In the news release, Mayes touted the recent creation of the Elder Affairs Unit to look into cases involving seniors.

“This new unit will be solely focused on combating elder abuse – whether it’s scams and fraud, or abuse and neglect,” she tweeted in June.

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