Crime

Former Muscogee Manor nurse pleads not guilty to striking 90-year-old woman

Suspect in injury of 90-year old woman pleads not guilty

Naidia Bennett, 28, a certified nursing assistant, faces charges of exploitation and intimidation of an elder person in a July 29, 2018 incident at Muscogee Manor. Defense attorney Mark Shelnutt says that there is no case to be made against her
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Naidia Bennett, 28, a certified nursing assistant, faces charges of exploitation and intimidation of an elder person in a July 29, 2018 incident at Muscogee Manor. Defense attorney Mark Shelnutt says that there is no case to be made against her

A former Muscogee Manor employee denies causing an injury to the arm of a 90-year-old disabled woman at the intermediate care nursing facility in Columbus, the employee’s attorney said Thursday.

Naidia Bennett, 27, pleaded not guilty to one count of exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults or elder persons during a 2 p.m. hearing in Recorder’s Court. Through an agreement with the District Attorney’s Office, Judge Julius Hunter set bond at $5,000 and bound the charge over to Muscogee Superior Court.

Bennett’s attorney, Mark Shelnutt, waived the court hearing on the charge and questioned the allegation.

Shelnutt said Bennett was working as a certified nursing assistant at the 7150 Manor Road facility when a woman she was caring for sustained a bruise on her arm. There are at least three shifts at the facility where people are coming in and out, including doctors and nurses, he said.

“Somehow or another, they claim she alleged my client did something to her hand,” Shelnutt said. “There was a bruise of some kind is the allegation.”

In a report, police said Bennett inflicted physical pain and mental anguish on the woman about 4 p.m. July 29 by striking her left hand, causing severe bruising. She also is accused of cursing the patient, according to the victim and a witness.

Shelnutt said the patient wasn’t able to verbally speak with at tracheostomy. “It could have been anybody,” Shelnutt said. “It is just no way to know. They say a bruise appears at a later time. There is all kinds of time frame in how the bruise came about.”

Shelnutt said he doesn’t believe there is any case. “She is obviously devastated,” he said of Bennett. “She never had anything but minor traffic in her past. I hope she will be fully exonerated in court.”

Police said the patient later died of natural causes unrelated to the incident. Records show she died on Sept. 25 at age 90.

Bennett, who left the job at Muscogee Manor, now works in a different field.

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