Man convicted in group home death of Joliet graduate
The Associated Press April 28, 2012 9:50PM
Updated: May 30, 2012 8:33AM
CHARLESTON — A former employee at a group home in eastern Illinois has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a developmentally disabled resident, formerly of Joliet.
In court Friday, Keyun Newble admitted pushing the man during a confrontation last year, but said he managed to stop a co-worker and co-defendant from beating him even more severely. The victim, Paul McCann, a 1989 graduate of Joliet Township High School, later died from what his family called “torture-like” punishment at the group home in Charleston.
The facility was part of a network of group homes run by the nonprofit Graywood Foundation that came under intense state scrutiny. The homes have since closed. Documents obtained by The Associated Press last year showed Illinois officials knew developmentally disabled residents had been abused at the homes two years before McCann’s death.
Both defendants in that case were charged with first-degree murder, but a jury on Friday found Newble guilty of the lesser charge, according to a report in the Mattoon Journal-Gazette. Newble is scheduled to be sentenced July 6 and faces up to 14 years in prison.
The case against his co-defendant, Marquis Harmon, is still pending. The next hearing in his case is scheduled for May 14.
McCann’s family claims the two men kicked and punched McCann for 45 minutes after punishing him for stealing food during a confrontation in January 2011. McCann’s ribs were broken in 13 places and he later died when his lungs filled with fluid.
On Friday, Newble at first described his treatment of the resident as a “nudge on the shoulder” and then a “stiff arm” push. He also claimed that he stopped his colleague from beating the man more severely.
“He didn’t stop until I yelled his name,” Newble said in the Coles County courtroom.
Circuit Judge James Glenn gave the jury the option of considering the involuntary manslaughter charge at the request of defense attorney Rich Black. Black told the jury that his client admitted playing a part to some extent, but there wasn’t enough evidence to say he was responsible.