Two defendants in a Hillsborough County courtroom Monday were not only sisters, they're also bonded by a heartless crime.
They're accused of letting their mother rot to death inside their home.
The condition their mother Mary Winston was found when she died left investigators shocked and appalled.
Hillsborough Assistant State Attorney Courtney Derry described it to the judge.
"When the victim was found, her legs were fused together, she had ribs exposed in her back where she had bed sores that had been worn away at the skin," Derry said.
The victim, Derry added, also had maggots coming out of her mouth as well as other wounds from her body.
Investigators say Winston was left in those horrid conditions for eight months.
Her bed sores, they say, spread across her body, which led to her death.
Some of the details were too hard to stomach for one daughter.
The 65 year old had severe rheumatoid arthritis and was bedridden for two years.
Her two daughters Belinda and Hyacinth are accused aggravated manslaughter.
But today, Hyacinth's attorney Bryant Camareno said she had no hand in her mother's neglect.
She says she wasn't even around.
"She did not live at the house she had moved two years prior to the offense. She was not the primary care giver," Camareno said.
The defendants claim their mother refused to go to the hospital, and they didn't have the money for her care.
But it didn't take long for us to find free medical services available in Hillsborough County.
"The county's health care program helps poor families or those who don't have insurance," explains County employee Gene Earley. "If you're in Hillsborough County, you're a resident, and you're at or below the poverty level, you should be able to get health care."
There is no excuse, prosecutors say, for allowing your loved one to die like Mary Winston.
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