In a stand against elder abuse in general — and because he thought a defendant lied — a Washington County judge ordered a former certified nursing assistant to serve 15 months in jail.
Amanda Tibble, 36, of Jonesborough, worked as a CNA at John M. Reed Nursing Home in Limestone in January 2010 when she was accused of physically, verbally and emotionally abusing elderly patients.
Tibble said Tuesday that she has an anger management problem.
Tibble was fired when the allegations were made and in September pleaded guilty to two counts of willful abuse or neglect of an adult and entered a best interest plea to two other counts. A fifth count was dismissed.
The plea agreement gave Tibble a 15-month jail term, but she was eligible for full probation.
After Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, that won’t happen.
Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp heard testimony from Tibble — which he later said he didn’t believe — and the daughter and granddaughter of one victim, Anza Hall.
Marcella Hall and her daughter, Carla Anderson, both testified that Anza Hall told them more than once, “Don’t make them mad, they’ll be mean to me.”
Anza Hall suffered a stroke a decade ago, which left her totally dependent on other people to do things for her, Anderson said.
As an elementary school teacher, Anderson said parents trust her with their children everyday to take care of them, and the elderly deserve the same care.
In making his ruling, Cupp said he could almost hear Anza Hall telling her daughter and granddaughter not to make the staff mad or they’d be mean to her.
“I can’t even comprehend a lady that age being in that kind of fear,” Cupp said.
Hall is 90 years old, but was 89 when the abuse occurred, her daughter said.
“All my mamaw says now is, ‘The coffee’s good,’ ” Anderson said. Her grandmother remained at John M. Reed after Marcella Hall determined there were no other safety issues.
Still, Hall testified, she remains more vigilant when it comes to her mother’s care.
Prior to Hall’s family members testifying, Tibble also testified, but said she didn’t say some of the things her former co-workers had accused her of saying.
Tibble also didn’t recall details she had previously told a Washington County sheriff’s investigator that were included in her statement.
Assistant District Attorney General Dennis Brooks read the statement to Tibble, and she then acknowledged that, according to the document, she had used the derogatory words her co-workers reported.
Tibble also apologized to the Hall family and the other families involved, though none were at the hearing.
Hall and Anderson said they didn’t believe Tibble felt any remorse for the incidents.
If Tibble is eligible for release after serving 30 percent of her sentence — which is allowed because of little criminal background — she could be out of jail in 4½ months.