SILVER SPRING, Md. -- A D.C. woman will spend the next year behind bars after video showed her striking a 95-year-old wheelchair-bound woman with a cellphone.
Roxann Bucchan-Straker was sentenced in the Montgomery County Courthouse Thursday evening.
She served as the private caretaker of a 95-year-old woman who had been living in a Silver Spring nursing home.
Bucchan-Straker hit the woman with a cell phone in November 2015. Authorities say she struck the woman at least three more times over a 6-month period.
The woman’s son had suspected Bucchan-Straker may have been acting inappropriately around the same time of those incidents. So, court officials say he set up a hidden camera in his mother’s residence to capture Bucchan-Straker’s behavior.
Investigators could hear Bucchan-Straker complaining in the video that the woman was not eating her food fast enough. After one such complaint, observers could see Bucchan-Straker strike the woman in the video.
In court Thursday, Bucchan-Straker claimed she had been under pressure at work and in her personal life. She apologized to the court and then told the judge: “I am ashamed of myself.”
Judge Cheryl McCally then told Bucchan-Straker that she should be ashamed before she ultimately read her sentence aloud. Bucchan-Straker then screamed in court before collapsing to the ground. She had to be taken away by multiple sheriff’s deputies in front of her two young daughters.
Bucchan-Straker had previously pled guilty to one count of abuse of a vulnerable adult. Judge McCally handed her a five-year sentence with four of those years suspended. Officials say if Bucchan-Straker displays good behavior she will only be locked up for one year.
Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy, said he believed the court handed down the right sentence.
“It strikes me as unfathomable,” he said. “It really is a situation where someone that was hired to care for them [an elderly person], instead abused them.”