Supreme Court Upholds 65-Year Prison Term For Woman Who Stole From Elderly Residents In Nursing Homes

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Mariane Angela Contributor
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The Ohio Supreme Court upheld a 65-year prison term imposed on Susan Gwynne, a former nurse’s aide who pleaded guilty to stealing jewelry and valuables from elderly residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Gwynne, 62, pleaded guilty in 2016 to 46 of the 101 charges filed against her, including burglary, theft, and receiving stolen property, The Associated Press (AP) reported Sunday. The Ohio Supreme Court issued a divided ruling Oct 25., determining that the consecutive sentences were properly imposed, thereby upholding the 65-year prison term Gwynne.

In her plea from 2016, Gwynne admitted to stealing jewelry, watches, and other items from elderly nursing homes. She began stealing items from patients’ rooms while working as a nurse at an assisted living facility in 2004 to support her cocaine habit.

After being fired from her job, she continued her thefts at facilities in Delaware County and Franklin County wearing a nurse’s uniform to gain access to rooms. Investigators discovered more than 3,000 stolen items at her home, the outlet added. (RELATED:  Georgia Supreme Court Upholds Six-Week Abortion Ban)

The case had a complex legal history, with multiple appeals and reversals of sentencing decisions. The trial court originally imposed consecutive sentences, stating that no single prison term would be sufficient given the seriousness of the offenses, WBNS reported. In 2017, the Fifth District Court of Appeals overturned the sentence, arguing that Gwynne’s age and her status as a nonviolent first-time offender made a 15-year prison term more appropriate.

The Ohio Supreme Court reversed the appeals court’s decision in 2019, instructing it to reconsider. The lower court upheld the 65-year term, asserting it had no authority to modify the consecutive sentences. In December, the state Supreme Court voted 4-3 to return the case for further reconsideration. However, after a shift in the high court’s party control in January, it voted 4-3 to reconsider its own decision.