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Hartsdale man gets 1-3 years for letting mother die of neglect

James Austin, 45, was found guilty of leaving

James Austin, 45, was found guilty of leaving his elderly mother to rot in the home that they shared. Photo Credit: NEWS 12

A Hartsdale man convicted of killing his elderly mother by neglect was sentenced Friday to one to three years in prison.

James Austin, 47, was convicted by a jury in June in Westchester County Court of second-degree manslaughter in connection with the July 2011 death of his 71-year-old mother, Ida Austin. Greenburgh police found her maggot-infested, emaciated body on the couch of the home on Chatterton Parkway she shared with her son. James Austin called police to the scene, saying his mother was "unresponsive."

Police found her lying in her own excrement, surrounded by garbage, already dead on the couch.

"This defendant, as the sole caregiver, had the legal and moral responsibility to care for his mother. Her declining physical and mental condition made her totally dependent on the defendant. His abject failure to provide adequate food, water, hygiene and general care along with the abhorrent conditions that existed in the home, along with his concerted efforts to prevent others from getting her help, resulted in this tragic and ultimate outcome," said District Attorney Janet DiFiore after Austin was sentenced by Judge Robert Neary in White Plains.

Austin's lawyer, Earl Raynor, could not immediately be reached for comment.

An autopsy revealed that Ida Austin died of starvation, dehydration and infection. Prosecutors told the jury James Austin had simply stopped taking care of his sickly mother and let her waste away to death.

Austin's lawyer argued that he did not get medical help for his mother because she did not want it -- that her belief in Santeria, a religion rooted in African spiritualism with deities linked to Roman Catholic saints, caused her to reject medical intervention.

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