Caretaker Found Guilty Of Murdering OKC Elderly Man With Alzheimer's
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma City caretaker was recently found guilty of the 2017 murder of an elderly man with Alzheimer’s disease.
The victim died two weeks after Rocky Rhines, 57, allegedly beat him in the head.
Rhines is currently being held in the Oklahoma County jail until his formal sentencing in December.
The jury recommended he serve 10 years in prison for the beating death of a 75-year-old Michael Richard.
Pictures of Richard collected from his childhood, years in the military, raising a family and his final days were played at his 2017 funeral. He died 14 days after he was admitted to the hospital with a brain bleed.
Police were led to Rhines, the elderly man's live-in caretaker. Oklahoma City investigators arrested Rhines in Perry, Oklahoma where he admitted to hitting Richard 30 times in the head with his hands.
“That is very heartbreaking,” said Patrick O’Kane, Sunbeam Family Services Senior Services Director. “It is very challenging caregiving for someone, especially if they have Alzheimer’s.”
Court documents show Richard had early onset Alzheimer’s and was on medication. The victim's son said the stress of caring for his father must have caused Rhines to snap.
Senior care experts at Sunbeam Family Services said there are services available for caregivers when they need a time out.
“We have support groups that caregivers can get into and express their deepest emotions,” said O’Kane.
O’Kane also recommended that families do background checks if they are not going through an agency. He said to steer clear of anyone with a violent past.
In this case, the victim’s family said Rhines was recommended by a friend.
“Do extensive referrals,” said O’Kane. “Who has received services from this individual and for how long?”
He recommended families refer to OKCares.org as a resource for senior care and programs.