Man charged with attempted murder for neglecting elderly mother

Pson25. Lionel Bullock, 56, has been charged with attempted murder for abuse of his elderly mother.
Pson25. Lionel Bullock, 56, has been charged with attempted murder for abuse of his elderly mother.
Posted: January 26, 2014

WEST OAK LANE Philadelphia police charged a West Oak Lane man with attempted murder Thursday, saying he starved and neglected his terminally ill mother - even going so far as cutting off the electricity that powered her oxygen tank, according to authorities.

Lionel Bullock, 56, of the 7000 block of Woolston Avenue, was also charged with aggravated assault and neglect of care for a dependent person, said Tasha Jamerson, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office.

Bullock is awaiting arraignment, she said, adding that prosecutors will request that he be held on $1 million bail.

Bullock's 93-year-old mother, Jessie Carter, who had severe kidney and heart dysfunction, had recently moved back in with her son after living with a daughter in New York, according to police.

She had returned to Philadelphia because she wanted to die in the house she had owned for more than 40 years. Suffering from congestive heart failure, Carter moved in with her son and his teenage children around September, police said, and was completely dependent on his care.

Police said Bullock fed the woman only once a day and forbade his children from providing her with any food or water. He stole - and sometimes sold - her $7 Meals on Wheels dinners, police said.

He stopped changing her diaper and would scream curses and Bible verses at her, often calling her a sinner, they said.

Bullock's abuse was observed by a home health-care nurse, who visited three to four days a week for several hours a day, police said.

Eventually, Bullock had his electricity turned off despite the health-care worker's pleas that his mother's oxygen tank relied on the power.

The nurse told police she had tried to persuade Peco workers not to shut down the power, but they told her the account was in the son's name, so they had to do as he asked. Peco spokeswoman Cathy Engel Menendez said she could not comment on any specific case, but said the utility's policy is to confirm with a customer that turning the power off would not adversely affect a resident.

The nurse was able to keep Carter alive with a nonelectric oxygen tank, police said. She was removed from the home by the Fire Department and placed in protective care in October. She later succumbed to her illness, police said.

For months, the Police Department's Special Victims Unit and the District Attorney's Office have been investigating the case.

Citing the son's abuse and neglect, prosecutors on Thursday charged him with attempted murder.


mnewall@phillynews.com

215-854-2759

@MikeNewall

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