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Bennington

Nursing assistant to serve 34 days

A Bennington woman will spend another 34 days in prison after being convicted of taking money from an elderly woman in her care who lived at the Thompson House Nursing Home in Brattleboro, Vt., until her death in 2009.

At a sentence hearing Friday, Jodi LaClaire of Bennington was sentenced to five to 10 years on each of the seven charges, with all but two years suspended and credit for time served, Windham Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court staff said Monday. In September, LaClaire was convicted on six counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and one count of attempted financial exploitation, for stealing from 83-year-old Nita Lowery in 2009. LaClaire will serve her time at the Chittenden Correctional Facility in Berlin, Vt., court officials said.

LaClaire has been ordered to report to the correctional facility to serve the remaining 34 days of her sentence, Assistant Attorney General Matthew I. Levine said in an interview Monday. Because LaClaire has already served over a year’s time in a Vermont jail awaiting her trial in September 2013, she has just over a month left on her sentence.

LaClaire had been held on $150,000 bail while awaiting her trial on financial exploitation and murder charges. After she was acquitted on the murder charge, a Vermont Superior Court judge reduced bail to $10,000 in December 2013, and by Dec. 11, 2013, LaClaire had posted bail and returned to Bennington.

She was first arrested in April 2011 on charges of financial exploitation and, after further investigation by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, she also faced murder and abuse charges in January 2012, according to published reports. From her arrest in April 2011 until her trial this past September, LaClaire had been incarcerated.

In 2009, LaClaire was accused of administering a shot of insulin to Nita Lowery, 83, that resulted in her death. Lowery was living at the Thompson House Nursing Home in Brattleboro at the time of her death. LaClaire was working at Thompson House as a nursing assistant at that time.

Levine said Monday that LaClaire first started taking money from Lowery in March 2009, the day Lowery was found in a coma. Levine said LaClaire made a variety of transactions from Lowery’s banking account over the next few weeks. He said the amount of money LaClaire took was in the vicinity of $4,000.

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or larceci@ledgertranscript.com.

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