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Attorney General Will Decide if Atria Senior Living Will Face Charges in Poisoning Deaths

California’s attorney general may now decide whether a Bay Area senior living provider will face charges in the poisoning deaths of three seniors who were under their care. 

Two seniors died last August at Atria Senior Living in San Mateo and a third died at the company’s Walnut Creek facility after the patients drank cleaning solution. 

Latishia Sherice Starling, 54, appeared in a Contra Costa County court on charges of elder abuse resulting in death. 

The assisted living center worker’s 94-year-old dementia patient, Constantine Canoun died last august after drinking cleaning solution at the living facility in Walnut Creek. But Canoun’s family said it’s the facility, not the worker, that should be charged. 

“I want her to know that the family does not blame her, that the family thinks that the corporation should be held accountable and that you know she did her best based on the circumstances and the resources that she had available to her,” said Kathryn Stebner, Canoun family’s attorney.

Now the Canoun family may get at least part of their wish. Prosecutor Mary Knox said California Attorney General Rob Bonta is now considering whether to file charges against Atria Senior Living. 

“Both the Walnut Creek Atria case and the San Mateo Atria case has been referred to this attorney general’s office or possible filing against Atria itself,” said Knox.

Three other dementia residents at Atria Senior Living in San Mateo were poisoned days after Canoun when the company said their staff accidentally served a cleaning solution that they had mistaken for fruit juice. Two residents died from the poisoning.

“The safety of our elders depends on these companies like Atria being held accountable by either the DOJ or the attorney general,” said Stebner.

The Canoun family’s attorney says they hope Bonta does the right thing and holds Atria criminally liable. 

Meanwhile, a Contra Costa County judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to try the Walnut Creek worker. 

“We will be moving forward with this prosecution and hopefully come to a fair and just resolution,” said Knox.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Atria for comment on Friday’s developments but they have not provided a response.

Starling’s preliminary hearing will take place April 7.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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