Man With Alzheimer's Accused Of Killing Fellow Colorado Nursing Home Resident

By Keith Coffman

DENVER, Feb 24 (Reuters) - An 87-year-old Colorado man who suffers from Alzheimer's disease has been arrested for allegedly beating to death a 76-year-old fellow dementia patient at the nursing home where both men lived, authorities said on Tuesday.

Homer Castor is being held without bond on suspicion of murder and for a crime against an at-risk adult in the slaying of Gerald Propp, according to Jefferson County jail records.

The assault occurred on Saturday at the Atria Applewood assisted living facility in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, court documents show.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by police, a nurse heard someone calling for help from the room shared by the two men, who both suffer from advanced Alzheimer's. There she found a bloodied Propp in bed with multiple facial injuries.

When the nurse asked Castor what happened, he told her: "If he (Propp) says one more word, I'm going to kill him," the affidavit quoted her as telling police.

When officers arrived they found Castor with blood on his hands and clothes, and blood splattered on the walls, carpet, and furniture in the room, court papers said.

When questioned by an officer, Castor appeared confused and was difficult to understand, the affidavit said.

Castor was initially booked on an assault charge, but Propp died from his injuries on Monday, authorities said. An autopsy showed he suffered a broken nose, injuries to his left eye and face, and a brain hemorrhage, the affidavit said.

Staff at the facility said the pair were involved in a physical altercation earlier in the month in which Propp's neck was scratched.

Atria Applewood said they were cooperating with authorities.

"We are committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure that our residents continue to feel safe and protected in our community," it said in a statement.

On Monday, a judge ordered Castor to undergo competency tests at the state's mental hospital, the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office said in a statement, adding that he has not been formally charged. (Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Walsh)