WOODSTOCK – A former Woodstock Residence nursing supervisor accused of letting a nurse play “angel of death” is asking a judge to bar her only police statement from trial.
Penny Whitlock, 60, of Woodstock, faces five counts of criminal neglect that include allegations she failed to report suspicions that two patients had been neglected or abused in 2006. She also allegedly said nurse Marty Himebaugh, 57, of Lake in the Hills, could continue to play the “Angel of Death.”
Whitlock, who has denied all the charges, is asking Judge Joseph Condon to suppress her Nov. 2, 2006, interview with police because they did not explain her Miranda rights until a half-hour or so into the 55-minute conversation. A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for May 19.
Defense attorney Nils von Keudell also questions why police, who taped an interview with Himebaugh, did not tape the interview with Whitlock. Instead, police summarized her statements in a report.
“[They didn’t videotape the conversation] so they can say what she said rather than let the jury or fact-finder see what she said,” von Keudell said.
According to the police report, Whitlock admitted that she told another nursing-home employee to keep morphine from residents who had died, rather than destroying the medication.
But, Whitlock denied telling someone that “If [Himebaugh] wanted to be the ‘Angel of Death,’ let her,” according to the report.
She acknowledged that a nurse told her she suspected Himebaugh killed a female patient with a lethal dose of morphine. But Whitlock said she saw nothing suspicious when she examined the patient’s chart, according to the report.
She said she didn’t report the situation or three nurses’ suspicions because they were “petty nurses making petty allegations,” according to the report.
Whitlock also faces two counts of obstructing justice for allegedly asking a worker to destroy prescription drugs on Oct. 30, 2006. In the police interview, she denied making that request.
Himebaugh, who also has pleaded not guilty, faces four counts of criminal neglect for allegedly giving four patients prescription drugs improperly. She also faces charges of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation and unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. Himebaugh is next due in court March 31.
The 115-bed nursing home where the women worked is now under new management as Crossroads Care Center of Woodstock.