A mom-of-two who let her own husband rot to death in their filthy, cockroach-infested home is to serve just four years in prison.Paramedics were shocked to find Mark Fulgham, 36, covered in bed sores and riddled with maggots, after his wife of 12 years Dormanicia called 911 after he had trouble breathing on December 3, 2016.
Paraplegic Mark Fulgham died in hospital just one day after being rushed to hospital. He died of severe dehydration, malnutrition and infection. Police say he had suffered such severe starvation that his bones were severely pronounced.
Dormanicia Lawson, 37, was arrested and initially charged with homicide over what California authorities have deemed ‘one of the worst neglect cases’ they’d ever seen, NBC News reported. But jurors were unable to agree on the murder charge which has since been dropped by prosecutors.
Dormanicia Lawson was arrested after doctors and nurses treating her husband discovered maggots eating his body and infected bed sores. Lawson is now facing just four years in jail after she agreed to plead guilty to abusing her husband. Lawson was also convicted of two abuse counts related to her two children. As the abuse charges are not classed as violent offenses, she could be eligible for release in just two years.
‘You would think he was a corpse just by the way he looked,’ Corporal Christopher Blakely, Concord police spokesperson, told PEOPLE. ‘It was horrific. … (It was) the most severe case of neglect that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been an officer here for 10 years. He could not talk. He had shortness of breath. He had maggots that were eating his body.’
Dormanicia Lawson and Mark Fulgham were married for 12 years but Fulgham only appeared to have been paralyzed in the past couple of years, according to his Facebook page. When police arrived at the couple’s apartment in Concord, California, they were struck by an ‘awful odor.’
Authorities found rotting garbage, human feces and a dirty, heavily stained mattress was lying on the floor – on which Mark Fulgham had been left to rot. Corporal Christopher Blakely said that both of Lawson’s children were found with a ‘foul odor and were dirty.’
But when Lawson was asked why she had neglected her husband, she had no answer. ‘She had no explanation for it, other than she was tired and stressed,’ Blakely said.
The apartment Lawson and her family lived in was so unsanitary it had to be sealed off after the discovery. Lawson’s main role had been taking care of her husband and her two sons, a teenager with severe autism and an 11-year-old. The youngest child was taken in to care.
During her trial, Lawson testified that her husband had been abusive toward her and actively resisted treatment. She claimed that her he had hit her and cursed at her when she told him to seek help and even when she tried to call 911. Jurors were split 8-4 on the murder charge.