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Former caregiver pleads not guilty to manslaughter

September 22, 2021 GMT

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A former employee of a Fargo memory care center has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and endangering a vulnerable adult in the death of a resident.

Rachel Cooper, 59, is charged in the death of Gary Pearson, a retired businessman and radio station owner in Grafton.

Police were called to Maple View Memory Care for a report of an assault of a patient by a caregiver Aug. 3.

According to a criminal complaint, Cooper was cleaning Pearson’s bathroom and that the two appeared to have struggled over the bathroom door.

The complaint said Cooper pushed Pearson with both hands, causing him to fall backward. She later told police Pearson was keeping her from leaving the bathroom. She said she pushed him with one arm, causing him to trip and fall. The 78-year-old resident died from his injuries.

Cooper’s next court appearance is Nov. 24.