Alabama sheriff says investigators still working abuse case at group home

Published 5:54 pm Thursday, June 4, 2020

Authorities in Alabama said an investigation into elder abuse at a veterans group home was still ongoing, as deputies attempted to piece together how the home came into existence.

The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office seized hundreds of paper records from Square One Life Management LLC after owners Donny and Tilena Owens were arrested last week, WALA-TV reported.

Capt. Paul Burch said authorities were investigating how the six men arrived at the home and what happened during their time there.

Donny and Tilena Owens were charged May 26 with one count of first-degree elder abuse and neglect, and five counts of second-degree elder abuse and neglect.

One of the residents left the home and called for help, news outlets reported.

Burch said the men each paid $700 a month to live in the 1,100 square-foot (about 102 square-meter) home with three bedrooms, one bathroom, five beds and one recliner.

He previously said the men lived in “deplorable conditions” with no access to food or drinks since the cabinets, pantries and refrigerators were locked with padlocks.

The couple owns two other homes, authorities said. At one of the homes a resident came outside covered in feces and urine, Burch said.

Donny Owens’ attorney, Dennis Knizley, said the case was being sensationalized. He acknowledged that the refrigerator and food cabinets were padlocked at night, but added that the men had access to snacks and water after hours.

“These people are next to homeless, I would say,” Knizley said.

Knizley also said the couple’s other homes were open and had been inspected by the Alabama Department of Human Resources before and after the arrests.