Adult care home owner gets 21 years in patient's death

A nursing home owner was sentenced to 21 years in prison for the homicide of a patient.

Valer Catuna, part owner of Phoenix-based Adult Care Home, had a dispute with a 53-year-old patient diagnosed with multiple health and mental health problems, including traumatic brain injuries, according to a July 20 news release from the Arizona attorney general. The dispute, over the patient's request for a cigarette, resulted in Mr. Catuna pinning the patient down and punching him in the side, breaking seven ribs, rupturing his spleen and causing internal bleeding. Mr. Catuna failed to call 911 for nine hours and the patient died of his injuries on Oct. 21, 2020.

Mr. Catuna was charged with second-degree murder and vulnerable adult abuse in March 2021 and pleaded guilty to manslaughter in May 2023. He was sentenced July 14.

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