Can you say Rigor Mortis???

Widow Sentenced To 45 Days
Failure To Help Her Dying Husband Led To Cruelty-To-Persons Charge

January 22, 2004
By DAVID OWENS, Courant Staff Writer

A Barkhamsted woman has been sentenced to 45 days in prison for leaving her morbidly obese husband to die and ultimately decompose on their living room floor.

When Robert Roy, 49, died last January, his body began to fill the home with a horrid odor. Yet his wife, Nancy, went to work and carried on with her boyfriend, later telling police she thought her husband was merely asleep on the floor.

By the time she took any action, it was too late.

"His body was rotting into her floor," Assistant State's Attorney Dawn Gallo said Wednesday. "His head was black. He was oozing decomposition fluids out of his nose and mouth and the skin was peeling off his back."

Roy, 44, on Tuesday pleaded guilty in Superior Court in Litchfield to a single charge of cruelty to persons. She was sentenced to 45 days in prison.

Gallo had sought the maximum sentence of one year in prison, contending it was warranted by Roy's "willful deprivation of sustenance and care" from her husband, who was 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed in excess of 400 pounds.

"How could she not know he was in dire need of care?" Gallo said. "It was horrible."

When Roy realized something was wrong, which by her account was at 10 a.m. Jan. 13, 2003, she delayed calling 911. Her first call, at 10:30 a.m., was to her boyfriend, Thomas Caves, who had dropped her off at her home about 10 the previous evening.

At 10:45 a.m., she called 911. It was obvious to the New Hartford ambulance volunteers who responded to Roy's Eddy Road home that it was too late for them to do anything.

The volunteers "determined the victim had been deceased for some time and requested that the police be notified," Trooper Scott Caroon wrote in a warrant for Roy's arrest. When he arrived moments later and entered the house, Caroon said he was struck by the odor of decomposition.

Roy told Caroon that the last time she talked with her husband was 9 a.m. on Jan. 11, just before she left for work at a factory in Torrington.

She told the trooper that her husband had said he didn't feel well and that he was hungry. Roy said she offered to make her husband something to eat, but he changed his mind and wanted only water. Her husband was lying on the floor and she placed a pitcher of water next to him, she told the trooper.

In a later interview with Caroon, Roy said she came home from work at 1 a.m. on Jan. 11 and found her husband on the living room floor between the couch and his bed. She said she tried to pick up her husband, who slept in the living room because he couldn't climb stairs, but he was too heavy. Caroon asked her why she didn't call an ambulance then, and she said she didn't think it was necessary.

In her earlier statement, Roy said she arrived home about 5 that night and found her husband still lying on the living room floor, covered with a quilt.

"Roy stated the TV was on and she thought Robert was sleeping, so she did not attempt to wake him up," Caroon wrote in the arrest warrant affidavit. Nancy Roy left the house Jan. 11 around 5:30 p.m. with her boyfriend. She told the trooper they'd planned a trip to the Mohegan Sun casino. They only got as far as the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge on Queen Street in Southington, where they spent the night and most of the next day, she later told police.

Caves dropped Nancy Roy at her home about 10 p.m. Jan. 12. She told the trooper that she saw that her husband was lying on the floor in the same position, but said she thought he was still sleeping and didn't want to wake him. She went to bed.

The next morning she called 911. The local medical examiner, Dr. Douglas Gerard, told Caroon he believed Robert Roy had been dead "a lot longer than the approximate 48-hour time frame stated by Mrs. Roy."

An autopsy determined that Roy died of natural causes due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with morbid obesity. Dr. Thomas F. Gilchrist, who performed the autopsy, said Roy may have been dead longer than 48 hours.

Robert Roy's friends and relatives told Caroon that his wife did not buy groceries for Roy or take him to medical appointments. One of Robert Roy's relatives told Caroon that Nancy Roy said she was glad she had days earlier purchased three life insurance policies on her husband.

Nancy Roy told Caroon that she and her husband had "grown apart and were not close in their relationship," and that for three years she had been romantically involved with Caves.

Her lawyer, John Liquori of Suffield, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

My friend David Owens wrote this story. The wife MUST'VE had to have stepped over his rotting body to carry on her daily chores, not to mention laugh all the way to the bank with the money she got from his life insurance policies.

I say she should've gotten MORE than 45 days.