Friday, December 26, 2014
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 lkeene@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Comments

comments

.

News

Transit survey: 47 percent ride bikes to UCD campus

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Exchange students bring the world to Davis

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Pastor has many plans for CA House

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Playing Santa

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Goats help recycle Christmas trees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Special holiday gifts

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A3

Woodland-Davis commute bus service expands

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Learn fruit tree tips at free class

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis Bike Club hears about British cycling tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Pick up a Davis map at Chamber office

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Explorit: Get a rise out of science

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

NAMI meeting offers family support

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Yoga, chanting intro offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

.

Forum

Blamed for her sister’s rage

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
How much for the calling birds?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Steve Sack cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
Many ensured a successful parade

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Thanks for putting food on the table

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
.

Sports

 
Two more for the road for 9-1 Aggie men

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Patterson is college football’s top coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Clippers get a win over Golden State

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

NBA roundup: Heat beat Cavs in LeBron’s return to Miami

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

‘Unbroken': A bit underwhelming

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Folk musicians will jam on Jan. 2

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

.

Business

Passat: Roomy, affordable sedan with German engineering

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

James J. Dunning Jr.

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Floyd W. Fenocchio

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, December 26, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7

 
Comics: Thursday, December 26, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: A9