Starkville Man is Charged with Felony Abuse of a Vulnerable Person

April 10, 2017

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Starkville man has been arrested and is charged with felony abuse of a vulnerable person.

Cleatonia “Tony” Burns, 34, is accused of allegedly striking a 21 year old patient who is intellectually and physically disabled causing pain or injury at a time that Burns was employed as a direct care provider at Brandi’s Hope Community Services in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Investigators with the Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit conducted the investigation with assistance from the Tupelo Police Department.  Burns was arrested at his home in Starkville with assistance from the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department, and he was booked into the Lee County Jail then released on a $5,000 bond. His arraignment date is set for July 5, 2017.

“There is no excuse to strike a patient, especially one who is intellectually and physically challenged,” Attorney General Hood said.  “Caregivers provide critically needed services for our vulnerable population, whether elderly, adolescent or disabled.  Good caregivers are a lifeline for those they help and do all they can to make a patient comfortable.  I appreciate the special services they provide, but I warn offenders that any infraction will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted.”

Burns was arrested on a probable cause warrant signed by Lee County Circuit Judge Jim S. Pounds.  If convicted, Burns faces up to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.  As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. This case is being investigated by Joe C. Sanderson, and prosecution will be handled by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

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