Two People Charged with Murder in Elder Abuse Case

Original Case Details

A man and woman from Flint have been charged in the death of a 68-year-old woman who was supposed to be in their care. Robert Stilwill and Lori Rosebush were both supposed to be caretakes of Bonnie Fisher, who was found dead in her home on Bloor Avenue in Flint. Rosebush is Fisher’s sister, while Stilwill is a friend of Rosebush. At the time of Fisher’s death, investigators say that Fisher weighed only 69 pounds, was severely malnourished, and had not seen a doctor in about four years. Autopsy results showed that Fisher had multiple broken bones, including a broken arm, shoulder, and pelvis. Investigators estimate that Fisher had been in bed and never moved since the fall of 2019. Rosebush is also accused of stealing Social Security money due her receiving money to take care of Fisher. Rosebush was found with $15,000 in cash in her purse when she was arrested. Both Rosebush and Stilwill are being held at the Genesee County Jail without bond for their charges.

The Criminal Charges and Potential Penalties

Stilwill and Rosebush are both charged with first-degree murder and first-degree vulnerable adult abuse for their roles in Fisher’s death. Rosebush is also charged with embezzlement for allegedly taking money from Social Security and not rendering care to Fisher. If either is convicted of first-degree murder, then the penalty would a minimum of 25 years with a maximum of life in prison. A conviction for first-degree vulnerable adult abuse carries up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The medical reports and autopsy will be key in this case as the prosecutor may be able to prove their case solely on medical records and reports. Penalties for an embezzlement conviction will be determined on how much Rosebush is found to have embezzled from Social Security if she is convicted.

What Happens Next?

The next step in this case is the first hurdle a prosecutor has to clear in any felony case: the preliminary exam. The preliminary exam is a hearing where the prosecutor has to show probable cause that a crime or crimes were committed and also has to show probable cause that the person or people charged committed the crime or crimes. These hearings take place at the District Court level and are heard by District Court judges. The prosecutor usually calls a limited number of witnesses to testify in these hearings in order to meet the probable cause burden, but also not give away too much of their case to the defense. The defense will have the opportunity to cross examine any witnesses, and even call witnesses of their own. It is important to know that there are no jurors at this phase, only the judge. If the judge feels that enough probable cause has been shown, then the case would then be “bound over” and sent to Circuit Court for further proceedings as well as a potential trial. If the Judge feels that the prosecutor did not prove probable cause, then the Judge can dismiss the case entirely. If the defendant agrees that there is probable cause and is looking to work out a deal in front of the Circuit Judge, then the defendant has the option to waive the preliminary exam and continue the case in Circuit Court. The preliminary exam is an extremely important first step in any felony case. It sets the tone and usually the path for where a case is likely to go.

Any Further Questions?

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or being investigated for one, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.

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