Before the Stroke


Act I: The Plot


Act II:  

The "X" Secured


Act III:

  The Kidnapping


Act IV, Sc.1:

      The Isolation


Act IV, Sc.2:

   The Plundering


Act V, Sc.1:

      The Dumping


Act V, Sc.2:

          The Rescue



    The Indictments


Appendix I:

  The Perpetrators


Appendix II:

    The Friendship



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                      Act IV – Sc. 1: The Isolation

            Unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles:

            Inflected minds to their deaf pillows

                            will discharge their secrets.

                                        (Macbeth, V,i,68)



          After arriving in Bend, Oregon, Charles & Carole (along with their daughter, Pamela, (16), on January 9, 1986, purchased a house in Amelia's name.  The down payment of $15,861.12 was paid with Amelia's funds on January 9 with two checks:  A Cashier's Check ($15,161.12) and a $1,000.oo check for "cash" of which $700 was earmarked for "Bend Escrow," and $300 withheld as "cash."  (Undoubtedly the $300.00 went into Carole's

purse, as part of the $1,680.oo she withdrew as "cash" during this two-week period.)


    (It has been speculated that the house was put into Amelia's

    name only because of an outstanding I.R.S. lien against the Duttons.)



         The 3-bedroom, 3-bath house, at 20557 Cambridge Court, cost $75,000.oo.  The 2,925 sq. ft. house (with attached two-car, one wheelchair garage) sat on .52 acres.   The monthly payments, through an assumed loan with the Oregon Department of Veteran Affairs, was $522.oo.  The property taxes were not always paid when due, and were added to the ODVA loan.  During the next 19 months while Amelia lived in her house and until she was placed in a Foster Care Home, she paid the mortgage payments, including $1200.37 in property taxes for 1986-1987.  


          She also made the payments and paid off the 2nd TD loan on her house with a $12,802.84 balloon payment.


     Making mortgage payments was a new experience for Amelia.

     Her home in Carson City was paid for.  Being of the Great Depression                  generation, she preferred to save and pay cash, often making reference     

     to Shylock’s interest rate ("a pound of your flesh," from "The Merchant

     of Venice").


         The telephone was kept in Amelia's name until the Duttons were forced to move out, on October l, 1993.



         For the next 5 years Amelia was, for all practical purposes, kept a prisoner:  physically by Charles & Carole; mentally by her own expressive aphasic condition.  She was in a strange city, confined to a wheelchair (if not to her room), with no friends coming to visit, no access to a medical doctor or much needed speech and physical therapy.


       Amelia was to later indicate to Sheila Nelson and Joseph Quinn, while at Amelia's Bend house (March 28, 1994, to prepare a scaled ground plan of her house), that she seldom was taken out from the house, and that she never once was taken into the large (11,300 sq. ft.) back yard.  (All entrance/exits to the house have steps, including two seven inch steps and a 12 inch drop off into the back yard.)


    One can imagine Amelia passing the long hours, confined to 

    her wheelchair and looking out the glass sliding door onto a

    strange yard that her care givers withdrew $2,173.90 from her

    account to landscape (of which $1,478.00 was "cash" to Carole, 

    and marked "landscaping.")   In the last week before she was

    abandoned in a Care Home, she may have watched Charles riding

    her new $474.95 Toro lawn mower.)



           Trial testimony established Amelia's only visitors were limited to the friends and relatives of Charles and Carole Dutton; that Amelia was not given the opportunity to develop outside contacts by being taken to movies, stage plays (which was her career), the Senior Center, or stroke support groups; that after she was abandoned in Rice's Foster Care, her only visitors (infrequent), were the Duttons, as recorded in the Log Book.  She was isolated from any form of the intellectual stimulation that had nourished her senses for 65 years.


    Since being rescued from the Duttons, Amelia would often take the Dial-A-Bus to the Senior Center on her own (an act of independence never allowed by the Duttons). Apparently, contrary to the trial testimony,  Karren Ruesing, her caseworker, said that someone there had recognized her as being there once before, while she was under the Duttons care.  (If so, presumably, the Duttons may have used the Senior Center as an emergency baby-sitter, or as an unlikely gesture of altruism.)           



          In January, 1986, Charles & Carole placed Amelia's Carson City home on the market.  "Appraised at $54,500.oo," it sold for only $47,250.00 (August 1, 1986) because, according to Dorothy & Fontella, "(they) had trashed it."   Amelia has never seen this money.    When Amelia suffered her stroke, she had saved and prepared well for her future; her home was free of encumbrances.


          Soon after arriving in Bend, Carole hired a home aide, Thelma Garbutt, from Evergreen Services, to come in twice a week to clean Amelia's room, and to give her a bath.  Amelia's paralysis makes her partly dependent upon assistance.  (Dorothy stated that Amelia used to take a bath or shower once if not twice a day.)  


          Thelma's statements bring to light the gross disintegration and wanton neglect of Amelia under the Duttons' care.  Thelma worked for Carole for approximately the first two months after they arrived in Bend, at which time Carole discharged her.  Amelia was four months removed from the physical therapy she was receiving at the Carson Convalescent Center in Carson City.    


     "During the times I worked with Ami, she was able to walk

     on her own with the aid of a cane."


          But six months later, on Sept. 8, 1986, Carole purchased a custom leg brace for Amelia ($363.oo), but no physical therapy.   When the State took over (December, 1991), she was confined to a wheelchair, capable of taking, only with assistance and extreme effort, only 3-4 steps.


Thelma continues:


     "When I was working with Ami . . .  I noticed that Carole did not encourage Ami to                   exercise. . . . Other than informing me that Ami was a stroke victim, Carole                               provided me with no other information . . . and Carole was always secretive when I                would attempt to inquire about Ami’s background.   


     "Ami often appeared to be angry or unhappy with Carole, and  sometimes,               especially when Carole was near, Ami would act very frightened of her.”  


     "I had the distinct impression that Carole resented having to care for Ami.  On               several occasions Carole made a point in claiming that no one else would take Ami in               and care for her needs: in Ami's presence, Carole would emphasize, to Ami, the               words, 'no one else.' ”   (Presumably, in reference to Dorothy & Fontella.)


     "I was surprised to later learn that the house they lived in was actually Ami's               house.   Carole had always talked of the house being hers, and that she had taken               Ami in when no one else would.” 


     "I never did notice Carole showing a loving concern or attitude toward Ami.                               Carole seldom left me alone with Ami, and she would hide outside the door and                listen to me talk to Ami.  When Carole was present, she would always answer for                Ami when Ami attempted to communicate.  Once, when Ami was trying especially                hard to communicate, Carole intervened, saying that Ami is 'crazy' and that I                shouldn't pay any attention to what she says."


Thelma suggested to Carole a word processor for Ami to help with her speech:  Carole never had her back, and Carole no longer used Evergreen Services, Inc., for home aide help.


          After the Duttons placed Amelia in a care home and at a chance meeting downtown, Carole told Thelma how "mean" Amelia was at the care home and that she had attempted to "OD" on medication" there.  Both statements proved false.



          For the next two months Carole hired (with Amelia's money) an Ann Baker to care for Amelia.   In July, she contracted for help through COCA (Central Oregon Council on Aging).  For the next 14 months (until Amelia was placed in the Foster Care Home, COCO provided 147.5 hours of assistance to Amelia -- at Amelia's expense.   (Years later, under a civil suit, Carole attempted to recover $1,700.00 per month for caring for Amelia.)


          On July 15, 1986, a $172.oo check is written on Amelia's account for an ambulance.  Details are unknown.   Five weeks later, on August 22, Carole rewrote Amelia's Last Will & Testament, giving themselves (and their daughter, Pamela) everything.  The Will was prepared by Bend attorney, Louis Selken, and signed by Amelia's "X."   It would be reasonable to suspect that the new Will was in response to the ambulance, quite likely called for Amelia.


          At the Duttons' criminal trial, Charles stated that they hired outside help to care for Amelia because of Carole's "poor health," and her bad back.   Dorothy writes that both Charles and Carole have had back surgery, in the late 1970s.  Both are overweight, especially Carole.  Both are heavy smokers.  Charles' health is poor:  Carole wrote from Gladstone, Oregon, (Sept. & Dec., 1983, before moving to Bend) of Charles "persistent pain and loss of strength in his left arm . . . the doctor thought it is probably a deteriorating disc in the neck . . . the doc discovered that Charles is on the verge of a hernia . . . we're seriously thinking of some kind of change (of jobs) soon . . ."


           Carole added that because they have no medical coverage, they will not be following through on the doctor's recommendation.  (In two years-four months, Charles will quit a job in Bend, Oregon, where he has "100% medical coverage," and move in with Dorothy and Fontella.)


    Of note here, is that the Duttons had four months before moving back to Oregon with Amelia to learn of the physical responsibilities involved in caring for their charge.    Their greed for Amelia’s assets took precedent over the realities of their physical limitations. 


    They were not unaware of this problem, and the problem of getting Amelia in and out of the house:  In Carson City, the 9th check Carole wrote on Amelia's account (9-28-85) was to Copeland Lumber for "Ramp material, $88.28."   After moving to Oregon, all indications are (and supported by Amelia) they did not install a ramp for Amelia.   It was not necessary:  they seldom took her anywhere, and apparently they did not plan to keep her around for very long.


          Through COCO, Carole hired Eda Evans to care for Amelia.  Eda reported that Carole was very secretive about Amelia's past, and she would seldom, if ever, allow her to be alone with Amelia.  Eda recalled that the day Carole discharged her, Carole said she was going to assume the care for Amelia herself.   Carole lied.  The very next morning, September 5, 1987, Amelia was placed in Rice's Adult Care Foster Home. 


             Amelia managed to convey to Dorothy, Fontella and Quinn (on a visit to Carson City, July, 1994), and also to Quinn and Sheila Nelson (March 28, ‘94, while in her Bend house), that she was not given any advanced notice of being removed from her Bend, Oregon home, nor to where she was going, until after she arrived  at the Rice's Home.  


           On November 6, 1986, the Duttons transferred their Ford LTD Wagon (purchased new 11 months earlier with Amelia's funds) into Amelia's name. 


          The Duttons, by their own estimate, made $20,759.22 worth of improvements in "Amelia's" house (this included their labor, at $20.oo per hour: i.e. "repair leaking shower head in bath, $40.oo").   But they made no effort to make her house user friendly for her.  There were no handicapped bars in her bathroom, and there were no wheelchair ramps provided. 


          Amelia had no access to her personal possessions that were of no immediate use to the Duttons.  What was not disposed of was kept packed in (63) boxes and five file cabinets in the garage.  Because of a 3-step, 21 inch drop off, Amelia had no access to the adjoining

two-car garage.


  What Amelia did have access to were some pieces of her furniture, her freezer, washer and dryer, and a Queen-size bed set Amelia had purchased "shortly  before her stroke."  (These items were eventually taken by the Duttons and never returned.)


          While Amelia was living in her house, she was given the Master Bedroom which had an adjoining private bathroom.  The Duttons removed the bi-fold mirrored closet doors and replaced them with "new sliding mirrored doors," spanning a 12-foot wide closet.  They also added another light fixture and switch in the bathroom, and additional shelves in the closet.


Remodeled to their liking, at Amelia's expense, one can only assume the Duttons moved into the Master Bedroom, on the evening of September 5, 1987, when Amelia was placed in the Rice’s Foster Care Home.    


Soon after, Carole went to work for the Oregon Division of State Lands.


    [This heartlessly planned, opportunistic plot of deceit predictably became a              contemptuous resentment of the helpless victim and her pitiful gestures for              compassion.   Quickly, rationalization, bowing to self-justification,rises its              odious stench, and Amelia is soon placed back into a Foster Care home, no longer a              constant, annoying reminder.  To perpetuate this crime, all contacts with the              past are erased and inquires intercepted, including not providing the much              needed medical history and care, lest she regains her communicative skills:

    thus herein lies the clue to their true intentions, and "thus  (they) clothe (their)              naked villainy."]



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