Man charged in caregiver's death
WAYNE -- A 23-year-old man from Wayne County has been charged with killing his caregiver, according to court documents and information received Thursday.
Kevin Jay Christenson of Wayne was charged with first-degree murder Thursday morning by West Virginia State Police. Later, he was found to be not competent to assist in his defense and taken to a state hospital.
The criminal complaint, filed in Wayne County Magistrate Court, says Christenson struck Ruth Ann Adkins during a Wednesday visit to Valley Health Services in Wayne.
"(Christenson) became enraged and began striking the victim in the facial area," the complaint states.
Adkins, 59, of Dunlow, later experienced complications from injuries suffered during the assault and died at Cabell Huntington Hospital, according to the complaint.
Wayne County Prosecutor Tom Plymale said Adkins has been Christenson's legal guardian since 2009 after a court proceeding indicated he was not able to take care of himself. She is also his stepgrandmother.
Plymale said she took Christenson to Valley Health Services before 2 p.m. Wednesday following an incident Tuesday night that raised concerns about him needing medication.
Witnesses at Valley Health reported he assaulted Adkins there, and police were called, Plymale said. Police detained Christenson, and Adkins went to the courthouse and attempted to get a mental hygiene petition for him but was unsuccessful. Christenson was then placed with Diversified Assessment and Therapy in Kenova.
Plymale said Adkins' condition worsened as the evening went on. She initially went to urgent care and was released, but then felt worse. Family members attempted to drive her to Cabell Huntington Hospital, but she "had an episode" on the way, Plymale said, so they called an ambulance to meet them. Plymale said she was unresponsive when the ambulance arrived, and she was pronounced dead Wednesday evening at the hospital.
Christenson was arrested Thursday morning and arraigned on a first-degree murder charge. Based on the information they had and after speaking to Christenson's attorney, Plymale said, a competency hearing was held, and Wayne County Judge Darrell Pratt determined Christenson is not competent to assist in his own defense.
Plymale said Christenson was taken to the William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston, West Virginia, for an evaluation.
Adkins' obituary lists her occupation as a caregiver at Diversified Assessment and Therapy Services. Her employer declined to comment when contacted Thursday. Johnson Tiller Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements, which are incomplete.
Follow reporter Kristi Murphy on Twitter @Kristi_Murphy. Reporter Curtis Johnson contributed to this story.
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