Man, 45, fined $5,000, ordered to write essay for neglecting his elderly mother's health

May 24, 1998

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner fined a Glen Burnie man $5,000 Friday and ordered him to write a 500-word letter on "What my mother means to me" as punishment for neglecting his mother's health so badly that her bedsores were insect-infested.

Ronald L. Phelps, 45, was also ordered to perform 250 hours of community service as part of five years of probation. He is one of two sons of Esther Phelps who entered an Alford plea to neglect of a vulnerable adult, a misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. In April, he entered the Alford plea, in which a defendant declines to plead guilty but concedes the evidence is against him.

Defense attorney John Robinson III questioned whether the law applied to Phelps, who did not live with his mother but who had taken responsibility for her finances. Another brother, John W. Phelps, 43, who lived with his mother in Pasadena, failed to appear for sentencing.

Pub Date: 5/24/98

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