Tuesday, March 31, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Mom takes witness stand in Davis elder-abuse trial

By
From page A3 | April 13, 2014 |

WOODLAND — She was called as a prosecution witness, but a Davis woman came to the defense of her son Friday at his trial for allegedly causing the death of a mentally impaired man who spent several years in his care.

“Jimmy was the helper,” Darlene Mattos said of son James Matthew Mattos, 53, who is charged with second-degree murder and elder abuse in connection with the October 2012 death of Cecil Wachholtz.

And while the defendant wasn’t the word’s best housekeeper — photographs taken by authorities showed a Hedy Lane trailer full of clutter, trash and animal feces — “I didn’t have any concerns about the way he was taking care of Cecil,” Darlene Mattos testified.

The elder Mattos, 78, took the stand a week after pleading no contest to elder abuse by means likely to cause death in connection with Wachholtz’s demise. She recalled being Wachholtz’s primary caregiver for years before relinquishing the reigns to her son around 2008, when the job became too difficult for her to handle.

Four years later, on Oct. 13, 2012, emergency personnel responding to a 911 call from James Mattos discovered an unresponsive, emaciated Wachholtz lying on a bare and soiled mattress, suffering from severe malnutrition, dehydration and multiple bedsores.

He died two weeks later at Sutter Davis Hospital, a week after his 67th birthday.

But Darlene Mattos’ testimony Friday seemed to contradict the defense’s claim that she bore the brunt of the responsibility for Wachholtz’s death by failing to give her son proper advice regarding his care.

“I did think he was in over his head, and I did offer to take (Wachholtz) back, but Jimmy said he was doing fine,” said Darlene Mattos, a retired surgical technician, who became Wachholtz’s conservator following her husband’s death.

She said she visited her son’s trailer from time to time but wasn’t concerned that Wachholtz never emerged from his bedroom, because “that was normal Cecil behavior.”

“He never came out and socialized,” Darlene Mattos said. His stubborn refusal to bathe, eat regular meals or go to the doctor also was typical behavior, she added.

As a result, Darlene Mattos said she never knew until he was hospitalized that Wachholtz had become bedridden or was suffering from bedsores.

There were 18 such wounds in all — 12 of them recent and six of them healed — forensic pathologist Dr. Mark Super, who conducted Wachholtz’s autopsy, had testified earlier in the day. He also noted 11 healing rib fractures and evidence that Wachholtz had aspirated food into his lungs, resulting in pneumonia.

Ultimately, Super found that Wachholtz died of septic shock — the infection of multiple organs. Coroner’s officials ruled the manner of death to be homicide due to neglect by caregiver.

Darlene Mattos said she was surprised to be arrested in connection with Wachholtz’s death and accused of involuntary manslaughter, a charge that ultimately was dismissed last week as part of her plea agreement.

“It really has turned my life around,” she said. According to Mattos, her Rancho Yolo mobile home was broken into several times while she was in Yolo County Jail custody, with thieves taking valuable items belonging to her family.

“I can’t even count all the things that are missing from my house,” she said.

As she walked off the witness stand for a courtroom break Friday afternoon, Darlene Mattos turned toward the counsel table and blew a kiss to her son. He blew one back.

Testimony in the case resumes on Monday.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Comments

comments

.

News

Coroner confirms West Davis deaths were murder-suicide

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Special playground dedication slated

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

 
Police: Missing athlete died on freeway

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

French eye cockpit entry rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Bob Dunning: Wrap your head around our MRAP need

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Solo crash kills Woodland man, 22

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Officials say Iran nuke talks will continue in new phase

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

‘Old Autos’ at Hattie Weber Museum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Davis tops list of best schools for the buck

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

 
Lenten giving project highlights climate justice

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

DCCNS plans open house April 8

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Parent-child open house previews new Waldorf classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Summer garden alert!

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Davis FFA and ag students host plant sale

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Poker tourney benefits DMTC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Camp Shakespeare begins Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Neighbors invited to adopt Willow Creek Park

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Yolo animal shelter seeks donations

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

RSVP for Gerber Young Community Leader reception

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Pence Gallery recruiting volunteers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Move over, Muggles

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A5

 
Tour de Cluck has selected its coops

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

CBH hosts Passover Community Potluck Seder

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
City extends nomination period for Huynh Awards

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Parenting class meets Tuesdays

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Meeting examines Northstar Pond priorities

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

.

Forum

Maybe he loves the outdoors …

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Why can’t we be friends?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

A California comeback for gerrymandering?

By Tom Elias | From Page: A8

 
César Chávez’s peaceful civil disobedience forged a great legacy

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

A conversation about power

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Sports

Over the years, The Show has been a reach for Davis

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UC Davis opens hopeful spring football camp

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

A very palpable hit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
UCD roundup: Sleiffer seals Aggie tennis victory over Montana

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Grizzlies beat Kings to end three-game skid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
Snubbed Temple, returning Stanford highlight NIT semis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Features

.

Arts

30 years of dance in Davis with Pamela Trokanski

By Chloe Lessard | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Dance the night away at house party

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

‘A Year with Frog and Toad’ a delightful family show

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Mischief to play at Picnic in the Park

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Yolo Mambo will play at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Thursday Live! plans a blues party

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Jane Lynch performance rescheduled to August

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Hear some April Fool’s night jazz

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7