Woman found not guilty of hitting dementia patient

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A 62-year-old Twin Falls caregiver accused of hitting a dementia patient in the head with a pipe has been found not guilty.

The Times-News reports (http://bit.ly/1qyjt7v) that jurors deliberated about three hours Wednesday before acquitting Jordana Brenda Bryan of aggravated battery in 5th District Court.

After the verdict, defense attorney Keith Roark put his arm around Bryan, who started crying.

Prosecutors contended that Bryan in late January struck the man at an assisted living home in southern Idaho called Iris House, the certified family home she had been running.

But during the trial, Roark argued Bryan wasn't even present at the time prosecutors say the assault occurred.

"It never happened," he said. "And if it did, Jordana wasn't even there."

Tattoo artist Jason Capps testified that Bryan was in his shop on Jan. 22. Bryan's business partner, Walter McCabe, testified that he saw the man bump his head on Jan. 21 after bending down to look for something under a trailer. Bryan bandaged the wound, McCabe said.

Jordana Bryan's ex-stepdaughter, Kelly Bryan, an employee at the facility, made the complaint against Jordana Bryan.

Deputy Prosecutor Rosemary Emory told the jury that Kelly Bryan loved Jordana Bryan and felt they were best friends until the incident. Emory said the defense witnesses were motivated to protect Jordana Bryan.

But Roark told the jury that the prosecution hadn't proven his client's guilt beyond reasonable doubt, even without the alibi from the tattoo shop. He also criticized what he called inconsistencies in Kelly Bryan's testimony.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare on Feb. 1 suspended Bryan's certificate to run the assisted living home. Agency spokeswoman Niki Forbing-Orr on Thursday told The Associated Press that Bryan filed an appeal after the suspension but before the not-guilty verdict. Forbing-Orr said the appeal process is continuing, but she couldn't comment further.

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Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com