WESTMINSTER — An involuntary manslaughter charge and a felony charge of inflicting injury on an elder adult filed against a Costa Mesa man in connection with the death of his mother was dismissed on Nov. 20 due to the defendant’s recent death, according to Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy.

Robert Dickerman, 49, a former electrical engineer, died from liver disease from chronic drinking, Murphy said.

Robert Dickerman (Orange County District Attorney's Office)
Robert Dickerman (Orange County District Attorney’s Office)

On July 3, 2012, at about 2:19 a.m., Costa Mesa police officers responded to 938 Azalea Dr. in regard to a medical aide call of a combative elderly female. Upon arrival, officers made contact with Dickerman, who explained he lived with, and was the sole care provider for, his 80-year-old mother, Yoshiko.

He said that two days earlier he had assisted his mother with going to the bathroom. While she was seated on the toilet, she slipped and fell to the floor. Dickerman said he attempted to help her up but she refused and was combative, so he decided to let her lie on the bathroom floor for the next two days.

Officers went to the hallway bathroom and found Yoshiko Dickerman lying in urine on the floor, in a fetal position, and in apparent physical distress. She was immediately treated by paramedics and transported to Orange Coast Memorial Hospital, where she was found to be dehydrated and had several open sores on the left side of her body. She died at the hospital the following day, and an autopsy revealed the cause of death was sepsis.

A subsequent investigation by Costa Mesa police detectives revealed Robert Dickerman was unemployed and had been caring for his mother since 2001. The home was in an extremely dirty and cluttered condition. He stated he was unable to clean the home because of his mother’s needs and his being her sole care provider. Detectives also learned that he was restraining his mother to her bed and a portable toilet, tying her in place on those items.

Detectives presented this case to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office as a possible homicide. Due to the living conditions in the home, the mother’s injuries, and the son’s failure to render care, on Sept. 9, 2013, the OCDA filed charges against Robert Dickerman.

CMPD detectives arrested Dickerman at his home on Sept. 24, 2013 and bail was set at $1 million. The following month, he pleaded not guilty and was released on bond.

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