A mother-of-two who let her husband rot to death in their filthy, cockroach-infested home is to get just four years in jail.
Paramedics found Mark Fulgham, 36, covered in bed sores and riddled with maggots, after his wife of 12 years Dormanicia called 911 when he began struggling to breathe on December 30, 2015.
He died in hospital just one day later of severe dehydration, malnutrition and infection. Police said he had suffered such severe starvation that his bones were severely pronounced.
Dormanicia Lawson, 37, was arrested and initially charged with homicide over what California officials deemed ’one of the worst neglect cases’ they’d ever seen, NBC News reported.
But jurors were unable to agree on the murder charge last month which has since been dropped by prosecutors.
She is now facing just four years in jail after she agreed to plead guilty to abusing her husband. Lawson was also convicted of two abuse counts related to her children last month.
As the abuse charges are not classed as violent offenses, she could be eligible for release in just two years.
Lawson was arrested after doctors and nurses treating her husband discovered maggots eating his body and infected bed sores.
‘You would think he was a corpse just by the way he looked,’ Corporal Christopher Blakely, Concord police spokesperson, told PEOPLE at the time.
‘It was horrific. … (It was) the most severe case of neglect that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been an officer here for 10 years.
‘He could not talk. He had shortness of breath. He had maggots that were eating his body.’
The couple were married for 12 years but Fulgham only appeared to have been paralyzed in the past couple of years, according to his Facebook page.
When police arrived at the couple’s apartment in Concord, California, they were struck by an ‘awful odor.’
Officers entering the building, found a filthy home, infested with cockroaches, flies and maggots.
Authorities found rotting garbage, human feces and a dirty, heavily stained mattress was lying on the floor – on which Mark Fulgham had been left to fester.
Blakely said that both of Lawson’s children were found with a ‘foul odor and were dirty.’
He added that when Lawson was asked why she had neglected her husband, she had no answer.
‘She had no explanation for it, other than she was tired and stressed,’ Blakely said.
The apartment was so unsanitary it had to be sealed off after the discovery.
He added that Lawson’s main role had been taking care of her husbands and her two sons, a teenager with severe autism and an 11-year-old. The youngest child was taken in to care.
Lawson was charged with murdering Fulgham through extreme neglect.
During her trial, she testified that Fulgham had been abusive toward her and actively resisted treatment. She claimed that her husband had hit her and cursed at her when she told him to seek help and even when she tried to call 911.