November 10, 2004
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.