GRETNA, LA. (AP) — A Louisiana man who worked for his mother’s home health care company has been found guilty of killing a client — an autistic and intellectually disabled man who was completely dependent on others’ care, prosecutors said Friday.
Terrell Nix, 36, was convicted Thursday night of second-degree murder in the death of 46-year-old Rohn Brinker, of Terrytown, according to a news release from the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office. The charge carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Brinker died May 14, 2019, while Nix was working the overnight shift at Brinker’s apartment. An autopsy found that he had been strangled and suffered blunt force trauma, jurors were told. A broken rib had punctured his lung. Other injuries suggested he had used his arms to ward off blows and that he had been dragged across the floor, a forensic pathologist testified.
Nix did not testify but his attorney argued there was too little evidence to convict the Gretna man, the news release said.
Officials said jurors were shown a video which Nix took on his cellphone a half-hour after his shift began on May 13, 2019, and about two hours before Brinker died.
Brinker had a bloody lip, appeared terrified “and stood zombie-like in responding to Nix’s barked orders,” the news release said.
It said Nix called his mother two hours later. “She called 911, saying Brinker had fallen in the bathtub and was unresponsive,” the news release said.
Investigators found spattered blood and evidence that someone had tried to clean it up.
Nix’s mother was arrested on charges of manslaughter and obstruction of justice but prosecutors found insufficient evidence to charge her.
The jury deliberated about an hour before convicting Nix.
District Judge Nancy Miller scheduled sentencing Feb. 22.