Nassau DA: Home health aide pleads not guilty to manslaughter in client's death
A 62-year-old home health aide charged in the death of a client in Garden City pleaded not guilty Tuesday during her arraignment in Mineola.
Gail Godwin, of Bay Shore, was indicted on charges of manslaughter in the second degree, assault, endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person and tampering with physical evidence.
Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly says Godwin was hired to care of John Busch, 83, “but instead she allegedly caused his death by hitting him on the head with an object and failed to call 911 for hours after he was injured.”
Donnelly says responding police officers found Busch on his bedroom floor with a pool of blood under his head. The incident occurred on Dec. 27, 2021 at Busch's home on Monroe Street.
She says blood was also found throughout the house, in the living room and hallway, and a garbage bag full of bloody clothes and towels was recovered from a garbage can outside the home. According to Donnelly, Godwin didn’t call police until after Busch was dead.
Donnelly also released a statement, saying "My office will protect seniors and we will hold anyone who harms vulnerable individuals responsible for their actions."
Godwin's attorney, Bruce Barket, says the man his client was working for needed more care than his client could provide on her own.
"Because of his illness and aging process, he was abusive, physically and verbally, including racial insults," Barket says.
Neighbors of Busch say the incident was "shocking and sad."
Godwin’s bail was continued at $150,000 cash, $200,000 bond or $2 million partially secured bond. She is due back in court on March 3. If convicted, she faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.