TRENTON, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has reinstated murder charges against two Detroit-area brothers who were accused of allowing their severely disabled mother to wither and die.
In a 2-1 decision last week, the appeals court said there was “sufficient evidence” to allow a jury to decide whether caregivers Grant and Gabriel Balogh had abused their mother and were responsible for her death.
Vickie Balogh of Trenton weighed 79 pounds when she died in 2016 at age 52. She had an inherited terminal wasting disease known as SCA-I that had afflicted other members of her family.
Dr. Lokman Sung of the Wayne County medical examiner’s office said Balogh’s death was linked to her body deteriorating from malnutrition. But defense expert Dr. L.J. Dragovic said the death could be attributed to pneumonia and the complications of her devastating illness.
District Court Judge Jennifer Coleman Hesson had dismissed murder and abuse charges in 2017, a decision that was affirmed by a Wayne County judge. Appeals court Judge Kathleen Jansen said Hesson made the right call.
The brothers “had to watch their mother suffer and die from this horrible disease, and now the majority seeks to have them stand trial for her murder,” Jansen said in a dissent.