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For Immediate Release
November 10, 2004
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

CAREGIVER CONVICTED OF INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that a caregiver for three developmentally disabled deaf men was convicted by a Baltimore County Judge of two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Philip Jobes, 36, of the 2000 block of Frames Road in Baltimore County, formerly employed by Community Support Services for the Deaf, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge J. Norris Byrnes to fifteen months in jail for each of the deaths. This case is the first manslaughter conviction obtained by the Office of the Attorney General for neglecting a vulnerable adult. Jobes was also convicted of misdemeanor neglect of a vulnerable adult and reckless endangerment of a third resident who survived the fire.

On March 6, 2003, Jobes was the awake overnight caregiver at a group home at 3908 Noyes Circle, Apartment 3, in Randallstown. In addition to being severely developmentally disabled, two of the three men were both deaf and blind. In the early morning hours, while the men were sleeping, Jobes felt cold and turned all four burners of the electric stove to high. Mr. Jobes failed to monitor the hazardous condition he had created and failed to place himself in a position where he could see or respond to a fire or the strobe light fire alarm. The burners heated to the point where combustibles on the adjacent counter caught fire. By the time Jobes noticed the fire, it had progressed to the cabinets above the stove, and the apartment was filling with smoke. When a neighbor alerted 911, the thick black smoke had filled the hallway and stairwell. One resident died at the scene from smoke inhalation. A second resident was rescued from the apartment by firefighters and taken to the hospital where he never regained consciousness, and died five days later due to complications from the smoke exposure. A third resident survived after Baltimore County firefighter Robert Kemp rescued him from his bedroom.

In sentencing Jobes, who is also deaf, the court addressed the vulnerable nature of the victims and the extremely grossly negligent behavior of the defendant. Judge Byrnes stated that Jobes created a potentially deadly scenario to which he knew he could not react quickly and placed himself in a position where he could neither smell the smoke early on in the fire nor see the strobe light on the fire alarm. Byrnes sentenced Jobes to five years in jail, suspending all but fifteen months and placed him on three years probation on each count, all sentences to run concurrently.

The case was prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office which has authority to investigate and prosecute abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults.

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