PHOENIX - Court documents are revealing graphic details surrounding an Arizona man who was arrested in connection with the death of a woman months ago.
The 81-year-old victim, according to investigators, died days after she was taken from a trailer in Peoria in March, and the suspect was arrested on Sept. 21.
Here are the details in this case.
(NOTE: Some may find the subject matter of this story, along with certain details within, disturbing. Discretion is advised)
Who's the suspect?
Court documents identify the suspect as 57-year-old Philip A. Black.
The incident began to unfold on March 28, when court documents state that police officers were sent to a trailer located near the intersection of 75th Avenue and Peoria for an elder abuse investigation.
The report, according to investigators, was received "after an Adult Protective Service investigator contacted the Peoria Police Department to disclose an incident of abuse."
The alleged victim was identified in court documents as an 81-year-old woman. When officers approached the trailer, court documents state they noted the smell of human waste exuding from inside the trailer, and the alleged victim was found malnourished and not wearing any clothes.
"Paramedics immediately transported [the alleged victim] to the hospital, as they believed she was in critical condition," read a portion of the court documents.
When the alleged victim was taken to the hospital, she was described as "non-verbal" and could not follow commands. Investigators also said the alleged victim, who reportedly had dementia, was "extremely disheveled," and did not appear to have showered or bathed.
The alleged victim, according to investigators, was taken to a hospice facility on March 29. Court documents contained graphic description of the various wounds the alleged victim had on the lower portion of her body. On that same day, investigators interviewed the suspect, after he was read his Miranda rights.
Court documents state the alleged victim was pronounced dead on March 31. According to a Medical Examiner report cited by investigators, the alleged victim died from sepsis, along with a chronic elbow infection, and pneumonia. A number of other medical conditions were listed as contributory conditions, including COPD, dementia, debility, and cardiovascular disease.
Investigators, in court documents, stated they pieced together a timeline involving the alleged victim, based on medical records and reports from the Adult Protective Service:
- Oct. 2020 - Alleged victim had elbow surgery
- July 13, 2021 - Alleged victim taken to a rehabilitation center for an elbow infection
- Aug. 13, 2021 - A nurse at the rehabilitation center noted that the alleged victim appeared lethargic. The nurse spoke with Black, who requested to take the alleged victim home, against medical advice.
- Aug. 18, 2021 - Alleged victim was discharged from the rehabilitation center against medical advice, according to Black. He reportedly told staff that he has caregiver experience, and is "more than qualified" to care for the alleged victim.
- Oct. 29, 2021 - Alleged victim admitted to a hospital for wounds. The woman reportedly arrived at the hospital "very dehydrated and confused," and was reportedly "unable to ambulate or get out of bed."
- Nov. 2, 2021 - Alleged victim told Adult Protective Service officials that she is "not treated good" by Black, and is afraid to go back home to him
- Nov. 3, 2021 - Black was provided resources for the alleged victim
- Dec. 2, 2021 - Alleged victim was at the hospital for pain and infection in reference to her arm, and was also seen by wound care for a wound. "Increased confusion while in the hospital appearing secondary to underlying and previously undiagnosed dementia," read a portion of the timeline.
- Dec. 3, 2021 - Alleged victim discharged from hospital against medical advice
- Oct. 26, 2022 - Officials with Adult Protective Service wrote they spoke with Black, and that Black said he knows which facility the alleged victim is at, but did not want to provide the name for the facility. Investigators said it was later discovered that the alleged victim was not at a facility for medical treatment.
The suspect, according to court documents, texted the alleged victim's daughter. The alleged victim's daughter provided police with the text message on Aug. 17. In the message, the suspect allegedly called the woman a vulgar name, and claimed that the alleged victim put medical and financial power of attorney in the suspect's name.
What did the suspect tell investigators?
The suspect, according to court documents, was interview by police on Mar. 29, after he was read his Miranda rights.
During the interview, Black said he was not the alleged victim's caregiver, but he was the only person who lived with her, and that they were in a romantic relationship that began about 10 years before the alleged victim's passing.
The suspect, according to court documents, said that on Mar. 26, he called 911 after noticing that the alleged victim was rapidly breathing, and "speaking in tongues."
"[The suspect] administered one dose of Narcan to [the alleged victim] as he thought she was overdosing on prescription medication," read a portion of the court documents.
Black, according to court documents, also said that the alleged victim could "take a step or two," but aside from that, he had to assist her. He also told investigators that he provided the alleged victim with three meals per day, and that the alleged victim had a monthly check that would cover the bills. Black also said he was the alleged victim's Medical Power of Attorney.
"If something happens to her, who makes that decision?" Black was asked.
"That, I guess, would fall on me," Black replied.
"When asked why that would fall on him, [Black] responded, ‘because she doesn't have anybody,'" read a portion of the court documents.
The suspect, according to detectives, was taken into custody in the area of Dysart and Bell Roads in Surprise. When he was taken into custody, the suspect stated he wants to speak with an attorney. As a result, no questions were asked.
Has the suspect appeared in court?
Yes, and relatives of the alleged victim spoke out in court during the suspect's appearance.
"The last time I saw my mother, she was walking and talking. The next time I saw her, no daughter should ever have to see. She was small and frail and laying in a hospital bed and moaning in pain. I was told from the fire department she was laying in her own feces when they found her," the alleged victim's daughter said, in court.
"He took advantage of my grandmother over years, and is responsible for her death through neglecting her," a grandchild of the alleged victim said, in court.
The suspect, according to court video, interrupted the family members during the court proceeding, prompting a judge to tell the suspect to control himself.
What is the suspect accused of?
Court documents state that Black is accused of a count of Adult Abuse, and a count of Reckless Manslaughter. Court documents also state that Black has two prior felony convictions.
Bail, according to court documents, was set at $250,000 for Black.