View Full Version : Mammy and sow daughter found guilty of abusing three mentally ill men

Captain Pancakes
08-27-2016, 08:00 AM

MARIETTA, Ga. -- A woman and her daughter were found guilty of abusing three mentally ill men, after authorities said the two locked the men in a dank, unheated basement and stole their government benefits.

According to officials with the Cobb County District Attorney’s office, a jury found 54-year-old Sheila Bell Hawkins and her 72-year-old mother Helen Flournoy Bell guilty of 16 charges each.

Prosecutors said Hawkins and Bell were operating an unlicensed personal care home out of Marietta where the men were supposed to be cared for. But that wasn’t the case.

According to police accounts, officers found the men “living in filth” inside the unfinished basement of Bell’s Windy Hill Road home. Officers reported that the men’s clothes were dirty and not adequate for the “freezing basement where investigators could see their breath as the exhaled.” Officers said the men smelled of urine and had clearly not bathed recently.

The basement itself was also inadequate – officers said water covered the concrete floor, black mold was visible on the walls and makeshift “bedrooms were barely large enough for child-sized beds that only had a blankets and a pillow each.” Investigators also described the bathrooms the men used, noting that the sink and tub only ran cold water, no shower curtains or doors were available for privacy and no toilet paper was provided for the toilet that sat on the concrete floor.

“No words can capture the horribleness of that house,” said senior Assistant District Attorney Jason Marbutt.

Not only were the men living conditions deplorable, investigators said each of the victims relied on Social Security and other benefits, which Hawkins and Bell used to pay for services provided by their business, Serene Reflections for Holistic Behavior Wellness.

Serene Reflections, owned and run by Shelia Hawkins, advertises itself as a community-based treatment program that offers in-home and in-clinic counseling for mentally-ill people. More than 95 percent of clients the business serves are on Medicaid.

“These defendants let greed blind them to their obligations to treat their clients with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Marbutt said.

Bell and Hawkins each faced several counts related to the abuse, including operating an unlicensed personal care home, neglect of a disabled person and unreasonable confinement and willful deprivation of essential services.

A Cobb judge sentenced Bell to 20 years with five to serve. Hawkins will be sentenced Sept. 1. A third person related to Bell and Hawkins also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation on one count of exploitation of a disabled person.