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Central Illinois woman convicted in brother's neglect death

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A Central Illinois woman has been convicted in the neglect death of her brother, whose body was found surrounded by garbage and other filth prosecutors said contributed to his death.

A Piatt County jury convicted Christie Brown, 64, on Thursday of criminal neglect in Ronald Blankenship's the August 2018 death. A judge set her sentencing for Dec. 7.

Christie Brown

Brown

Blankenship, 64, was found dead in his bedroom in the Monticello home the siblings co-owned. His body was surrounded by used adult diapers, overflowing garbage bags and other filth, The (Champaign) News-Gazette reported.

Six medical professionals testified that those deplorable conditions made it easier for Blankenship to catch ailments.

A forensic pathologist found Blankenship's main cause of death was bronchial pneumonia due to chronic bronchitis, but also listed “medical neglect” as a contributing factor.

Blankenship’s physician said he got pneumonia easily because his long-term tracheotomy gave bacteria a more direct route into his body, and it was important to keep that area clean.

According to the F.B.I, the United States experienced its largest one-year increase on record in murders in 2020.

Assistant State’s Attorney Victoria Dedman told jurors it was logical to conclude that the home's unsanitary conditions contributed to Blankenship’s death.

Defense attorney Andrew Wessler said Blankenship, a former nurse, had been sick for years and had to use a walker. He contended Blankenship did not seem to want medical help.

Brown was also convicted of animal cruelty after two ailing dogs found at the residence had to be euthanized.

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