Thomasville caregiver receives 15 year sentence


A former Thomasville personal care home director was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday for abusing disabled patients.

Earnestine Yates was arrested back in 2013 after the state shut down the Breakthrough Independent Living Center and removed more than a dozen residents.

Yates was accused of locking those residents in their rooms and tying them up with belts.

In court, on Friday, she denied those claims saying, "They had food. It was good food and they never went hungry." 

Yates faced nearly 35 charges but made a deal with the Thomas County District Attorney, pleading guilty to four counts including conspiracy to exploit disabled persons, abuse of disabled persons and operating an unlicensed care facility.

Yates' son told the courtroom his mother "has a good heart" and that the only reason neglect could have happened is because "she took on more than she could handle."

But Judge Harry Altman responded that Yates "took actions that are equally unconscionable."

Yates' plea deal led to a 15-year sentencing, with five in prison and 10 years on probation. She has 30 days to decide if she wants to appeal the conviction.

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