Mass. man, 83, accused of beating nursing home roommate to death with walker

HAVERHILL, Mass. (WHDH/CNN) - An 83-year-old man in Massachusetts faces a murder charge and has been ordered held without bail in relation to the death of a fellow nursing home resident.

Jose Veguilla, 83, is being held without bail on a murder charge after he allegedly beat 76-year-old Robert Boucher, a resident at the same Massachusetts nursing facility, to death with his walker. (Source: WHDH/CNN)

Jose Veguilla, 83, appeared Monday in Haverhill District Court on a murder charge. He is accused of beating 76-year-old Robert Boucher, a resident at the same nursing facility, to death with his walker.

“When police got there, he still had the walker,” said prosecutors of Veguilla. “He was swinging the walker. The walker was covered in blood.”

A court psychologist questioned Veguilla’s competency at his hearing. The suspect suffered a traumatic brain injury during a fall at his home last year.

“He is not oriented. While he knew he was at the court, he doesn’t know the day of the month or even the year,” the psychologist said.

Veguilla’s son Henry said his father had not been taking his medicine and that he felt it was the facility’s duty to ensure the health and safety of all their patients.

“How does an 83-year-old man have the time to do what he is being accused of doing and no one stepping in to intervene?” his son said.

Boucher had been living at the Oxford Manor nursing facility since April after having a leg amputated. He was engaged to be married.

"Good, old gentleman, he was a nice guy. He didn’t deserve what happened to him,” said Gifford Russell, who lives in the nursing home.

Erika Wallace, whose father lives at the facility, also knew Boucher.

"I’ve seen some pretty crazy things here, but nothing along these lines. Just to hear it happened so close to you, just crazy. My father could have been his roommate. They switch roommates daily here to just kind of mix things up,” she said.

Athena Health Care Systems, which runs the nursing home, says they are working with police in their investigation, and additional support services will be made available to staff and residents.

“Based on our initial internal investigation, our staff acted quickly and appropriately in the matter,” said the company in a statement.

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