Fayette County

Grand jury gets case of Lexington man accused of neglecting his mother

The case of a Lexington man accused of neglecting his elderly mother went to the grand jury Monday.

Vernon Harris, 59, is charged with knowing neglect of an adult after his mother, Roxie Harris, 84, was found living in their home on Pasadena Drive in filthy conditions, according to court documents.

Jon Larson, Vernon Harris' attorney, said Harris suffers from bipolar disorder and some physical impairments.

"He's trying to make it as best he can ... and we all get to a point where we're not too capable," Larson said.

Larson argued Monday that the charge should be considered reckless in nature, a misdemeanor, given Harris' personal health issues and that he does not have a criminal record in Lexington.

About 12 days before his arrest, Vernon Harris had been warned by investigators to clean his mother's living conditions, but he was not given a deadline, Larson said.

He added that Roxie Harris asked Vernon Harris not to call for help until the house had been cleaned up.

When officers arrested Harris on June 20, his mother had not been bathed and was covered in feces, according to court documents.

Friends from Harris' church, Calvary Baptist, have since cleaned up the house and volunteered to help take care of his mother, Larson said.