Continuing Coverage: Elder Abuse Case in Richmond

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Testimony continues in the trial of a man charged in connection with the death of his mother. 57-year-old Richard Wallace pleaded "not guilty" to elder abuse and neglect. He's accused of not taking adequate care of his 86-year-old mother, letting her waste away on the sofa.

The details are graphic-- accounts of flies coming out of Elsie Wallace's mouth and detailed pictures of her pressure ulcers that turned black.  But, the defense is arguing that Elsie Wallace needed to be in control, and her condition wasn't necessarily her son's responsibility.

Court testimony shows Elsie Wallace lived with her adult son until her death on April 18th. For months, she'd lived on a couch inside, and that's where first responders found her dead that morning.

Witnesses testified that Elsie Wallace was covered in so many flies, that the EMT had to swat at her body to check for injuries. the medical examiner also found maggots in her ulcers.

Her son, Richard, found her and called the ambulance. He told responders that she spent her final days on a couch in the living room, unable to get up between November and April of 2010. In her last week, she was unable to speak.

Elsie had ulcers on her back, buttocks and foot that had turned black and maggots in her foot and groin area.

The medical examiner ruled her official cause of death as sepsis due to gangrene, which means bacteria likely entered her bloodstream through the ulcers and killed her.

We also learned that Richard Wallace hasn't worked in several years and lived off his mother's income, and that his mother hadn't seen a doctor in years.

The defense says Elsie Wallace didn't like doctors and it was difficult to get her medical care. They also say she liked being in charge, especially when it came to the rules in her own home. They say that home was filthy, because she was a hoarder.

Testimony also shows that Richard says he cared for his mother, but that he didn't know how bad the sores had become.

He told police he had planned to take her to the doctor that Monday, if things didn't get better. She died Sunday.

In several instances, the defense called into question whether the sores and bugs could have been new. The medical examiner couldn't say for sure. They also painted a picture of a very dirty, cluttered house and a woman unwilling to let someone else take her to get help.

Richard Wallace is expected to testify.

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