Christopher Lee Durham, left, and James Stephen Stanfield are charged in connection with their mother's death.
Photo: Cobb County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Cobb men charged with murder following disabled mother’s death

Cobb County police have charged two men in connection with the death of their mother who suffered from a debilitating neurological condition.

Christopher Lee Durham, 38, and 41-year-old James Stephen Stanfield, Jr., both of Mableton, are each charged with murder and neglect of a disabled adult, elderly person or resident of care facility. Durham is also charged with exploitation of a disabled or elderly person. All three charges are felonies. 

According to warrants, Dinah Durham, 65, suffered from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and was confined to a wheelchair. 

ALS, which used to be referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive disorder that affects nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, according to the ALS Association. The disease eventually takes away a person’s ability to walk, speak, swallow, dress and breathe, the website adds. 

Police accuse both men of not providing enough food and water to their mother “to the point that she was emaciated and only weighed 75 pounds.”

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“The accused neglected his mother in that she was left to sit in a wheelchair for approximately two weeks without an adult diaper,” the warrant states for both men. “The victim was sitting in her own feces while she had open compression sores that exposed the bone in her legs and her pelvic bone.”

The flesh was exposed to Dinah Durham’s feces and she developed a sepsis infection that caused her death, the warrant adds.

The warrants do not indicate an exact day or time when Dinah Durham died, but note the alleged mistreatment leading to her death occurred between Aug. 24 and Sept. 2. Cobb police spokesman Wayne Delk said officers were called out to the Mableton home on Sept. 2. 

The warrant also states Christopher Durham used his mother’s bank debit card to make purchases at gas stations, subscriptions to several dating sites and download video games from June 24 to Sept. 2. He also made cash withdrawals from ATMs using his mother’s card, police allege. 

Both men were booked into the Cobb County jail Feb. 6 and remain held without bond. 

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