Evansville man and his mother accused in death of relative
Steven P. King, 45, of 5932 Hyne Road, Evansville, and his mother, Veronica A. King, 71, Madison, are charged with first-degree reckless homicide, causing death by recklessly subjecting an at-risk person to abuse, hiding a corpse and fraud against a financial institution, according to a criminal complaint released Wednesday.
Mary Coleman, 72, died in May 2009 in Veronica’s apartment. The Kings are accused of ignoring Coleman’s condition, even after she fell out of bed, and then hiding the body.
The criminal complaint indicates that Steven stayed at Veronica’s apartment, although the complaint lists him as having a rural Evansville address.
The body was discovered Aug. 15, 2009, after Veronica’s guardian, Connie Downing, called the police to report that no one had seen Coleman for some time.
Human remains were found wrapped in plastic bags in the garage at Veronica’s Madison apartment. The body was “in an advance stage of decomposition where the body appeared to be mummified,” according to the complaint.
Coleman had an apartment in Madison, but she apparently had been staying with her sister and nephew because she had become ill, the complaint indicates.
At some point that spring, the Kings decided to keep Coleman hidden. Veronica told a social worker May 13, 2009, that she was concerned for Coleman’s health and that she might need to see a doctor, according to the complaint.
Coleman had died in Veronica’s apartment several days earlier, according to what Steven told investigators.
The complaint indicates Dane County Human Services workers had become concerned about Coleman’s deteriorating physical condition, but Coleman refused to be helped. The last time they saw Coleman was April 30, 2009.
Officials from Coleman’s bank, M&I, had alerted the county workers to the situation.
Bank records later showed that checks amounting to $6,437 had been written on Coleman’s account after she died.
Under questioning, Steven admitted to police that Coleman had been staying at Veronica’s apartment.
Coleman became very ill, with “blood all over,” on May 6, 2009, Steven said, and he and his mother decided to hide Coleman, according to the complaint.
Steven said Coleman fell out of bed May 7, with her legs tangled in electric cords.
“Steven stated that he and his mother were worried because some things fell off the bedroom dresser, and they thought they’d get ruined because of all the blood coming out of Mary’s nose,” the complaint states. “… Steven stated that Mary never got up” and the two “went about their normal business” and didn’t help her get up.
“I told her quite frankly to shut up” because an old woman who was in the backyard would hear and call police, Steven allegedly told investigators.
Veronica fed Coleman as she lay on the floor, Steven said. Veronica said she tried to give Coleman something to drink but not any food.
Veronica told investigators Coleman had asked for a doctor, but she told her the phone wasn’t working.
“She was just on that floor, and she just laid there until she wore out,” Veronica is quoted as saying.
Steven allegedly said he and his mother didn’t want to call a doctor because it was too late to do anything for Coleman, and they worried there would be questions such as why they hadn’t done anything for Coleman before her condition deteriorated.
Steven said that while Coleman lay on the floor, he watched TV and then went shopping and to McDonald’s with his mother.
By May 8, Coleman could only nod her head, Steven reported, and when he awoke on May 9, she was “pretty much dead.”
Steven said Veronica picked up Coleman’s mail and paid her June and July rent.
A doctor who had treated Coleman said she probably had had a second stroke, and the resulting partial paralysis prevented her from being able to get up.
The doctor thought Coleman might have survived if she had received normal care.
Coleman worked for AT&T for 40 years, retiring in 1998, according to the complaint. She later worked part-time at a Culver’s restaurant and at Coventry Village Nursing Home.