Orlando Local News

Closing arguments Friday in ousted guardian's neglect trial

todaySeptember 16, 2022

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TAMPA, Fla. — Closing arguments are taking place Friday in the trial of a former Central Florida guardian.

And a verdict may be announced as soon as this afternoon.

What You Need To Know

  • Closing arguments today in trial of former professional guardian after the death of seniors in her care

  • Rebecca Fierle facing charges of abusing and neglecting an incapacitated client

  • Fierle oversaw the medical care of dozens of seniors across the state; case led to new laws in 2020 to better protect seniors
  • Verdict could happen Friday

  • BACKGROUND: Trial starts for ousted Central Florida guardian

Rebecca Fierle, the professional guardian ousted from hundreds of cases following the death of a ward in her care, is facing charges of abusing and neglecting an incapacitated client.

The case sparked a statewide scandal in Florida’s guardianship system and eventually led to new laws in 2020 to better protect seniors.

Fierle oversaw the medical care of dozens of seniors across the state, but that came to a halt in May of 2019. The family of 74-year-old Steven Stryker, one of her patients, says she issued a do not resuscitate order for Stryker, even though he wanted to live.

Stryker’s family says Fierle signed the DNR without permission.

The defense has claimed other factors led to his death.

On Thursday, experts testified for the defense about Stryker’s medical, psychological and behavioral problems.

The case ultimately drove lawmakers to unanimously vote to amend Florida’s guardianship law in 2020. The law required permission from a family member or judge before requesting a DNR order.

Since her arrest, Fierle has not talked to the media.

It’s unclear how long she could spend in prison if convicted.

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