Former Va. EMT pleads no contest in prank death of colleague
The Associated Press
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
LEBANON, Va. A judge convicted a former rescue squad worker of involuntary manslaughter for zapping a co-worker with defibrillator paddles in what turned out to be a deadly prank.
Joshua Philip Martin, 25, faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in March. Circuit Court Judge Michael Lee Moore, who found him guilty after Martin entered a no contest plea, said Monday he likely will order prison time.
Martin had been on the job four days when he carried out the deadly prank on June 1.
Courtney Hilton Rhoton told Martin not to touch her with the paddles, but moments later, he placed the device on her chest and shoulder and activated it, prosecutors said.
The 23-year-old mother of two small children went into cardiac arrest. Her body first stiffened and then went limp. Rhoton, who had been an emergency medical technician for one year, never regained consciousness and died three days later.
Martin was not yet qualified to use the defibrillator, which is used to restart a patient's heart with an electric current.
Martin's mother, Diane White, said he meant no harm and "just made a mistake."
Rhoton's sister, Chanda Lawson, said, "They're crying because he's going to jail, but my sister's not coming back."