Malnourished, dehydrated, and covered in deep, infected bedsores, 84-year-old Albert Weaver Sr. was unable to speak when paramedics arrived at his Quakertown home in November 2016.
Once at St. Luke's Hospital, he was able to utter two words: "Help me."
Twelve days later, he died, the end to years of neglect by the four people — including his son and granddaughter — he had allowed to live on his property and entrusted with his care.
On Monday, his son, Albert Jr., 53; his daughter-in-law, Virginia Weaver, 49; and his granddaughter's boyfriend, Anthony Dorney, 33, pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent person and other charges, and were sentenced to state prison. Even as they admitted their guilt, each denied being his primary caregiver. All said they regretted not doing more for Weaver as his health deteriorated and he essentially starved to death
His granddaughter, Amanda Weaver, 27, admitted guilt as well, but her sentencing was delayed for a mental-health evaluation.
Virginia Weaver, Amanda Weaver, and Dorney also admitted to stealing money from Weaver and using it for their own expenses, including drugs. After Albert Sr. died, Virginia Weaver cashed several of his pension checks.
"It is incomprehensible to me that a family who claims to love someone would treat him this way," Judge Wallace H. Bateman said before handing down his sentence in Bucks County Court. "That's how you treated somebody that you loved? Here's what I think, I think he was a cash cow for you. You took his money, and you didn't even give him the slightest bit of care."
With police photographs of Weaver's bedsore-covered body in front of him, Bateman came down hard on all three defendants, sentencing them to longer prison terms than sentencing guidelines recommend.
"It's really troubling," Bateman said. "I'd have to be a fool to think the three of you had no idea the condition he was in, when you take a look at this photo."
Albert Jr., who had been free on bail, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of negligent care of a dependent person, and was sentenced to 15 to 48 months in state prison. Virginia Weaver and Dorney, who have been jailed since their March arrests, pleaded guilty to negligent care of a dependent person and felony theft, and were sentenced to two to five years in state prison.
The attorneys for Albert Jr. and Virginia Weaver declined comment after sentencing. Sharif N. Abaza, who represents Dorney, said he was glad to see his client's case resolved with a guilty plea.
This case began on Nov. 10, 2016, when paramedics responded to a call for help at the Weaver property on the 100 block of Union Road. Dorney, who lived in a mobile home on the property with his girlfriend, their children, and Weaver Sr., told authorities he had been giving Weaver his daily bath when the elderly man's eyes rolled into the back of his head.
Paramedics said they found Weaver Sr. on the floor of a bathroom in the dark mobile home. He was naked and curled up under a blanket. His ribs were visible through his skin, authorities said, and the house looked "deplorable," with clothes and garbage strewn across the floor and a "smell of infection" in the air.
Weaver Sr. did not have a bedroom in the mobile home, or in the adjacent two-story, four-bedroom home Virginia and Albert Jr. shared on the property. Instead, he slept on a recliner, which the family burned after his death.
Despite some improvement at the hospital, Weaver died on Nov. 22. Forensic pathologists testified that his death resulted from sepsis and malnourishment, and said that had he been cared for by his family, he would have survived. Charges were filed in March.
In court on Monday, Albert Weaver Jr. said he failed as a son by trusting the others, all of whom suffered from alcohol or drug problems, to care for his father.
"My client was a bad son. He didn't follow up. He didn't check on him as he should have," said his attorney, Keith Williams, who argued that his client did not deserve to go to prison. "He was barely in charge of his father, that's what caused the problem."
Virginia Weaver said she had previously cared for other elderly people, even her own father, who had abused her and left the family when she was a teenager. But this time, she said, alcoholism, depression, and an addiction to painkillers got in the way.
"I was just involved with myself," she said. "I got to the point where he got so ill, I was scared that I'd be in trouble. … I miss him a lot. If there was anything I could do to change it, I would."
Dorney, meanwhile, said he was consumed by meth addiction as he cared for his girlfriend's grandfather.
"I'm never going to forget what this man has done for me. He did more for me than most of family," Dorney said. "I'm very sorry; I just wish it would've went a lot different than it did."
Bateman had little sympathy for the defendants and had perhaps the harshest words for Albert Jr.
"Alcoholics and drug addicts taking care of your father. Bet you're proud today of how you treated him. He took care of you," Bateman said. "He could have lived a productive life had anyone taken the time to care for him."