Judge Lowers Bond For Nurse Accused In Patient’s Death

Posted On February 17, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

Dearborn County Courthouse

Dearborn County Courthouse

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – A judge has opted to reduce the bond for a Dearborn County nurse accused of causing a nursing home patient’s death.

Kathy Hess, 58, was charged earlier this month with Reckless Homicide (Class C felony), Battery Resulting in Death (Class B felony), and Neglect of a Dependant Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury (Class B felony) for the death of 77-year-old Dionne Scalf. The nurse from Bright was Scalf’s nurse at Woodland Hills Care Center in Lawrenceburg, where she became unresponsive before being pronounced dead at Dearborn County Hospital on December 20.

Hess had been held in jail on a $50,000 cash and surety bond, meaning she would have to post $55,000 in order to get out of jail. On Friday, Hess was in court with her attorney, Robert Ewbank, for a bond reduction hearing.

Dearborn Superior Court I Judge Jon Cleary agreed to lower her bond to $100,000 surety only, meaning Hess had to pay only $10,000 cash to bond out. She posted bond on Friday.

In the bond order, Cleary cited Hess not having a criminal record or history of missing court appearances, Also, Hess’ husband testified that the most in bail money he could produce was $25,000.

Cleary noted that the nature and gravity of the offense – Scalf’s death – “is shocking.”

As a condition of lower bond, prosecutors asked the judge to order Hess not to work as a caregiver. Following her firing from Woodland Hills Care Center after Scalf’s death but before criminal charges were filed February 4, Hess had gotten a job at another area nursing home. Cleary’s order met the prosecution’s request.

While out of jail, Hess is on home incarceration through Southeast Regional Community Corrections by GPS monitoring.

The criminal charges against Hess are still pending. A pretrial hearing before Judge Cleary is scheduled for March 17. Her jury trial is currently slated for June 9.


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