In a bizarre case, Lilly Brunoni, of Canton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder for attempting to kill an elderly woman by overdosing her on opiate-type drugs. Brunoni was sentenced to six years in prison.
CANTON Both the prosecution and defense acknowledge Lilly Brunoni's case is unlike any they've dealt with before.
Brunoni pleaded guilty Wednesday to her role in a plot to kill an elderly woman by overdosing her with an opioid-type drug. The victim was revived.
Along the way, the 41-year-old Brunoni posed as a medical professional, FBI agent, canine officer and someone affiliated with the Stark County Coroner's Office. The Canton woman convinced Nicole L. Dailey to go along with the plan because the elderly woman (Dailey's relative) had health issues and was in pain, according to the Stark County Prosecutor's Office.
Brunoni admitted to charges of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, corrupting another with drugs and practicing medicine or surgery without a license, all felonies. Stark County Common Pleas Judge Chryssa Hartnett sentenced her to six years in prison.
The prosecutor's office described the plot as an apparent form of assisted suicide, and not an attempt at cold-blooded murder, despite the victim not asking to be killed. The 30-year-old Dailey stood to gain money from the relative's death but it wasn't a significant amount, said Toni Schnellinger, assistant county prosecutor.
The elderly woman survived the May 9, 2017, incident after she was revived by rescue personnel with multiple doses of Narcan at a Canton Township home, Schnellinger said.
Brunoi was facing up to 12 years in prison but the victim and her family supported the plea agreement, Schnellinger said. Three of the charges were merged and sentenced as one because the offenses were part of the same criminal conduct, Hartnett said during the hearing.
"It's a fair resolution for what happened," Schnellinger said.
Hartnett explained her reason for accepting the terms.
"I understand ... that there are multiple reasons and considerations that go into any plea agreement," the judge said. "I don't want anyone to think I'm taking my job anything less than dead seriously but I am aware of all those factors...
"Given the length of time that this case has been pending and the numerous issues that have been brought to the court's attention, whether they be evidentiary issues or simply human nature issues and the relationships between and amongst the victim in this case and (Dailey and Brunoni), I understand those all come into play."
Brunoni entered her pleas in a soft and weak voice. She didn't address the court but defense attorney Eugene O'Byrne said his client is remorseful and he believes mental health issues contributed to her actions.
"I think it might be untreated and undiagnosed," O'Byrne said, referring to Brunoni's mental health concerns.
There were no relatives of the victim or supporters of Brunoni in the courtroom. In late February, Dailey, the co-defendant, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, corrupting another with drugs and theft from an elderly or disabled adult. Dailey, of Canton, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 2.
Dailey had accessed the victim's financial accounts and used money to make a timeshare payment, according to records filed in the case by the prosecutor's office. Dailey had been taking care of the elderly woman, Schnellinger said.
The elderly woman had been receiving respite care at a nursing home but Brunoni did not administer the overdose at the facility, the assistant prosecutor said. The victim had been taking medication to alleviate pain, according to the prosecutor's office.
On May 10, after the opioid-type drug was given to the woman and she overdosed, Brunoni contacted the nursing home, Schnellinger said.
Sheriff's deputies had found the woman unresponsive at the Canton Township home around midnight. The woman was then driven to a health facility where she required the doses of Narcan, the sheriff's office had said in a statement at the time.
Dailey did not become aware Brunoni was not a doctor until after the overdose, Schnellinger said. Due to the victim's age and health condition, "it took a long time to revive her (with Narcan)," the assistant prosecutor said.
The motive was for orchestrating the plot was not clear. "There was nothing for (Brunoni) to gain," the assistant prosecutor said.
Schnellinger said she also was not clear why Brunoni had posed as an FBI agent, canine officer and associate of the coroner's office at junctures in the chain of events.
Of Dailey, Schnellinger said, "I think there is remorse. I think she actually loves (the elderly relative)."
Currently, the victim "is doing fine," Schnellinger said.
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