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Nursing home resident charged with rape, murder of fellow resident

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A 60-year-old Indianapolis man living in a south side nursing home was charged with the rape and murder of an 80-year-old female resident of the same nursing home.

Dwayne Freeman was arrested Wednesday in connection with the death of Patricia Newnum. The Marion County Coroner’s Office ruled her death a homicide and determined she died by asphyxiation due to smothering.

Both lived at the Homestead Healthcare Center, which is located at 7465 Madison Avenue.

The Marion County Coroner’s Office says Freeman used a pillow to smother Newnum to death on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

Court documents released on Tuesday say a nurse went into Newnum’s room around 5 a.m. to give her medicine and found Freeman on top of her with a pillow on her face. The documents said Newnum was naked at the time and Freeman was only wearing a shirt.

Police were dispatched to the nursing home about half an hour later. Newnum was pronounced dead at 5:45 a.m.

Freeman originally told police Newnum “was already dead” when he entered her room and said he “was no killer,” according to court documents. The probable cause also said staff found an alcohol bottle near Freeman and that he was drunk.

Freeman later admitted to having sexual intercourse with Newnum, but told investigators it was consensual and initiated by Newnum.

Newnum was in hospice care, according to court documents. Staff told police that before her death, Newnum could not move on her own and her speech was limited.

According to the court documents, Freeman had only been living at the facility for three months. The court documents do not say why he was living at the nursing home. According to the probable cause the nursing staff said freeman would talk provocatively to people at the facility and that the night before the killing, Freeman said “I’m going to get me a woman tonight.”

An initial hearing for Freeman is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning at the Marion County Superior Court.

The company that runs the facility CommuniCare released a statement to News 8 that said: ““The health and safety of our residents is of utmost concern to us and we are cooperating fully with investigators. Given that this is an active investigation, it is our policy not to comment further at this time.”

Police called the incident disheartening. “Although the facility within itself may be a shock for residents in the area to kind of comprehend any one homicide in our city is unfortunate,” said Officer Samone Burris, a public information officer at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

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