ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix adult care facility owner sentenced to 21 years for patient’s death

Jul 20, 2023, 2:00 PM

Valer Cantuna received the maximum sentence for manslaughter after a patient at his adult home care...

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX — The former part-owner of a Phoenix adult care facility was sentenced to 21 years in prison for the abuse and murder of a vulnerable adult, officials announced Thursday.

Valet Catuna received the maximum sentence allowed for manslaughter on July 14.

Catuna beat patient William Griswold, 53, to death at the Artemis Adult Care Home on Oct. 21, 2020, prosecutors said.

Griswold, who had been a patient at the facility for just over 10 months, was diagnosed with several health and mental problems, including traumatic brain injury.

Prosecutors said a dispute arose between the men after Griswold asked Catuna for a cigarette, which led to Catuna pinning Griswold on his bed and punching him on the side of his torso. The altercation broke seven of Griswold’s ribs and ruptured his spleen.

Catuna neglected to call emergency medical services for nine hours, and Griswold died later that evening. A medical examiner concluded he died of blunt force trauma.

“The details of this care are so unconscionable,” Attorney General Kris Mayes said in a press release. “My office will not tolerate fraud and abuse perpetuated against our state’s elderly and vulnerable residents — and those committing these crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

A grand jury charged Catuna with second-degree murder and vulnerable adult abuse in March 2021, and he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in May 2023.

The Phoenix Police Department and special agents from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office investigated the case.

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Phoenix adult care facility owner sentenced to 21 years for patient’s death