Man faces charges in connection with alleged nursing home beatings

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Two charges: one associated with Jim Still death, the other with recent assault on elderly woman

WIIKWEMKOONG—In a strange twist of fate, following last week’s Expositor going to press featuring the front page article ‘Public silence after nursing home death disturbs victim’s friend,’ this newspaper learned that a charge had been laid against the man accused of the aggravated assault that ultimately led to the death of Little Current’s Jim Still while a resident of the Wikwemikong Nursing Home, 10 months, and one more assault, later.

After some prompting, The Expositor received a press release late Tuesday, well after this newspaper’s press deadline, which stated that Joseph Mark Edwards, age 67, of Wiikwemkoong (the community has been quick to point out that Mr. Edwards is not actually from the community, but rather only a resident of the nursing home) had been charged on June 8 with the following offences: assault and aggravated assault.

The Expositor learned that the charges did not both stem from the 2017 assault on Mr. Still, however. On June 5 of this year, Mr. Edwards, again at the Wikwemikong Nursing Home, assaulted an elderly woman, originally from Providence Bay and a nursing home resident.

Seemingly as a result of this second altercation, Mr. Edwards was then charged with assault for the June 5 incident and “endangering the life of Robert James Still thereby committing an aggravated assault” for the August 25, 2017 beating of Jim Still.

As was reported last week, Mr. Still’s long-time friend and partner Ellen Cooper said she could not understand why police took so long to act in laying charges against Mr. Edwards.

The Expositor attempted to reach out to both families of the victims for comment, but did not receive a response as of press time Monday. This newspaper also contacted the Wikwemikong Nursing Home for comment, but was referred to the press release sent out at the time of Mr. Still’s death, which read: “On behalf of the staff and residents of Wikwemikong Nursing Home, we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Mr. Robert Still. We have always, and will continue to strive to provide the best quality of care to the residents of the nursing home. We are fully cooperating with the authorities in the investigation of this incident and further conducting our own internal investigation in order to better understand what happened.”

This newspaper also contacted the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to ask about ministry policy and procedure for dealing with violent clients, but the ministry said it could not have a response ready by press time Monday.

Mr. Edwards’ next scheduled court appearance is for today, Wednesday, June 20. He remains in custody.

Police and nursing home administration would not confirm whether Mr. Edwards remained at the Wikwemikong Nursing Home following the alleged assault on Mr. Still last August or was removed to another facility for a time and then returned to the Wiikwemkoong facility when the second alleged incident took place in early June.