Elderly Metro Man Dies From Alleged Caretaker Abuse
OKLAHOMA CITY - A man entrusted to care for an elderly Alzheimer's patient is now behind bars.
Rocky Rhines, 55, was arrested Thursday on a first-degree murder complaint for the death of 75-year-old Michael Richard. Rhines was arrested in Perry, Oklahoma and brought to the Oklahoma County Jail.
Court documents revealed Rhines was homeless and from Perry. A woman named in the arrest warrant, Cleta Simms, let him stay at her Perry home on the weekends.
“He wasn’t working or anything,” said Cleta Simms. “And he got this job.”
Rhines was hired to care for Richard in his Oklahoma City home during the week. Richard suffered from Alzheimer's and paranoia.
On Dec.14 the elderly man was taken to St. Anthony hospital for head injuries. Police said Richard accused his caretaker of stealing his wallet and attacking him.
Richard's ex-wife, who hired the caretaker told police Rhines came to her home after the alleged attack and told her to check on the elderly man. That is when Rhines went back to Perry.
“I was just floored when he came back to Perry,” said Simms. “He had a bunch of bruises and stuff and I said what are you doing and he said Michael jumped on me.”
Rhines told police the elderly man threw coffee on him and pushed him to the floor. He said he grabbed and squeezed the victim's head to get him off of him, and then hit the victim in the head about 30 times with an open hand and with a bag.
The elderly man was later transferred to Integris Baptist with a brain bleed. He died 14 days after the brutal beating.
“The death is being investigated as a homicide,” said Officer Megan Morgan, Oklahoma City Police Department. “The suspect faces a charge of murdr in the first degree.”
The victim's ex-wife has power of attorney and told police the woman from Perry recommended Rhines for the job. She did not have any comments about the death or the arrest.