Authorities in Ohio are trying to figure out whether a Florida man acted out of compassion, rage, or drunken recklessness when he allegedly tried to suffocate his 86-year-old terminally ill father in a Brecksville nursing home. Staff members at the facility say they walked in on an "intoxicated" Steven Curtis, 58, smothering cancer-stricken dad Roy Curtis' nose and mouth on Monday, reports Cleveland.com—and that he then lobbed a telephone at one employee and locked himself inside his father's room before cops arrived. Roy Curtis died a few hours after the incident, and his son was charged with attempted murder.
The medical examiner's office will try to determine whether Steven's alleged actions hastened Roy's death. Attorneys for Steven Curtis—who pleaded not guilty and is free on $50,000 bail after also being charged with assault, menacing, and disorderly conduct—say their "very attentive" client was nursing his sick father and only wanted to ease his dad's suffering, Fox 8 Cleveland reports. "It’s my understanding that they had ceased [Roy Curtis'] food and water—he was simply on morphine for the last 72 hours," one of the lawyers says, adding that Steven Curtis "had actually stayed at the nursing home for all three days. He had actually slept there."