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Retired Doctor Arrested in Death of His Ailing Father

June 15, 2003|Associated Press

MONTEREY — A retired doctor from Carmel has been arrested on a murder charge for allegedly smothering his comatose father at a hospice here.

Monterey police said an attendant saw Werner Kammer, 62, with his hands covering his 90-year-old father's face early Friday.

The older man died before police arrived.

Kammer remained jailed Saturday in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Police said Kammer's father was admitted to Hospice House, a facility operated by Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, on June 4 after heart surgery.

The father, identified as Clifton Hart, had been suffering from a host of physical problems, including kidney failure.

His medical chart included a "do not resuscitate order," meaning he did not want special measures taken to keep him alive, according to Andrew Kopicki, an investigator for the Monterey County coroner.

An autopsy was conducted Friday, but the cause of Hart's death has not been officially determined.

Community Hospital spokeswoman Lauren Elsensohn said family members are allowed to visit Hospice House patients at any time and that a guard is on duty at the facility, which offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation.

Hart and Kammer had lived together at Del Mesa, an upscale retirement community in Carmel.

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