A South Windsor man pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree manslaughter for neglecting and causing the death of his 94-year-old father last year.
James Libby, 60, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 6 to seven years in prison and 10 years of special parole. He pleaded guilty under the Alford Doctrine, meaning he wanted to take advantage of a plea offer rather than risk a trial.
South Windsor police went to the Libby home on Scantic Meadow Road on Nov. 14, 2016 to check on the well-being of Libby’s father, Robert Libby. Police said they had gone to the Libby home several times before that day, but James Libby would not let them in. He had also prevented other family members from contacting his father, police wrote in the warrant for James Libby’s arrest.
On Nov. 14, 2016, however, police were responding after a relative spotted a Facebook post by James Libby saying his father was dead and that he was thinking about killing himself. Police told James Libby to open the door or they’d force their way in. He opened the door and quickly admitted that his father was dead and had died a few days prior.
South Windsor officers went into the house. The officers waded through two to three feet of debris, including thousands of beer cars, food containers, soiled adult diapers, garbage and other filth. When they found Robert Libby, he was badly decomposed and “there was insect activity on the body,” prosecutor Vicki Melchiore told Hartford Superior Court Judge Laura F. Baldini on Tuesday.
Robert Libby was lying in his own excrement on a bare mattress, his body was emaciated, his toe and finger nails had not been clipped in a long time and it appeared he had not been cared for, police said. James Libby was helping himself to his father’s Social Security and military disability payments, which police said he was not entitled to do.
James Libby told police that he and his father argued and that his father was abusive. He said he was the primary caregiver the past 10 years and the task was not easy. And while his father was entitled to treatment at Veterans Administration hospital, he had not been to one since 2013, police found.
Dr. James Gill, the state’s chief medical examiner, performed an autopsy on Robert Libby and ruled his death a homicide due to neglect. Starvation and dehydration were contributing factors to his death, Gill found. In their application for an arrest warrant, South Windsor police charged that James Libby denied his father the basic needs to sustain life.