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August 29, 2013

Hearing set for former Vet Center physician assistant

CLAREMORE —

A Rogers County judge on Wednesday scheduled a preliminary hearing for a former physician assistant at the Claremore Veterans Center near Tulsa who is charged in the neglect-related deaths of two elderly patients.

Kenneth Adams, 60, was indicted by an Oklahoma multicounty grand jury with two felony counts of second-degree murder — or the alternative charge of second-degree manslaughter — and neglect by a caretaker.

Adams has pleaded not guilty. Defense attorney Trevor Reynolds said Adams’ hearing is scheduled for Nov. 4 and 5.

Adams faces up to life in prison if found guilty of the murder counts. Reynolds said the hearing was scheduled after his client rejected a prosecutor’s offer to enter a guilty plea to some of the charges against him and serve just five years in prison.

The indictment accuses Adams of committing caretaker neglect in March 2012 that led to the death of Louis Arterberry, 86, who the indictment says was “a vulnerable adult” Adams was assigned to care for.

It accuses Adams of neglecting his duties by ignoring signs that Arterberry was suffering a stroke while Adams was “engaged in communications with another person in an effort to arrange a sexual liaison.”

Adams is also accused of committing caretaker abuse in May 2012 that led to the death of Peter “Jay” Minter, 85, after Minter suffered burns over more than 50 percent of his body. The indictment says Adams knew the severity of the burns but allowed Minter “to languish without proper care until he succumbed to death.”

The indictment also says Adams provided “false and misleading information” to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which investigates the cause of unexplained deaths. The information caused investigators to not investigate the manner and cause of Minter’s death, according to the indictment.

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