Sunday, November 20, 2022

Woman indicted in months-long abuse of elderly veteran

By Julie Manganis

SALEM — A Salem woman was indicted Wednesday in a months-long campaign of physical abuse and threats against an elderly Vietnam veteran who thought he could help her.

Tina Lizotte, 62, who was arrested in June, now faces a potential state prison term if convicted of charges that include five counts each of assault and battery on a person 60 or older and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, as well as a charge of witness intimidation.

The victim, 75, is a now-former neighbor of Lizotte at the Salem Heights apartment complex at 12 Pope St., a privately operated low-income development where both lived at the time.

The man’s family had grown increasingly concerned for his well-being after noticing unusual financial transactions on his bank account and that he was more and more difficult to reach. When they did see him he would sometimes have bruises, which he would attribute to falls.

Even as police, elder services and the complex’s management became involved, the man minimized the situation, telling them that Lizotte would reimburse him for expenses, and she was only holding onto his wallet inside a safe in her apartment for safekeeping.

Both the victim and Lizotte initially told investigators the man’s family was simply meddling.

But at the end of June, police encountered the man as he attempted to seek medical attention.

He would eventually disclose that over the course of their friendship, Lizotte had grown increasingly demanding and when he didn’t accede to her demands, would become physically abusive, according to police reports.

The man told investigators that Lizotte hit him with a mop, a broom and a belt, bit him, jabbed him in the eye, and cut and burned him, according to the indictments.

He said he’d felt sorry for Lizotte, who uses a wheelchair and suffers from a long list of health issues, and offered help when her daughter, who has been paid by the state to care for Lizotte as a personal care assistant, was pregnant. Later he continued caring for Lizotte because her daughter was busy with her own children.

The man, who still drove, offered to bring her to medical appointments and pick up medications for her at the pharmacy, among other chores.

But as police and other investigators began asking questions last spring, he told them, Lizotte’s anger grew — and so did the abuse, according to a police report.

At her initial court appearance in district court, Lizotte threw a headset across the courtroom. She was sent for an evaluation, which found that she suffered from multiple physical illnesses but no psychiatric diagnosis other than a personality disorder.

She did acknowledge her anger issues, a judge noted in a subsequent order releasing her on conditions in July.

The indictments move the case from Salem District Court to Superior Court.

An arraignment date had not been set as of Thursday.

Full Article & Source:
Woman indicted in months-long abuse of elderly veteran

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