Zemek v. Super. Ct.Annotate this Case
Sixty-nine year old Pamelia Powell had been prescribed multiple central nervous system depressants, with additive effects. In April 2016 and again in May 2016, she had to be hospitalized for overdoses. In between the two hospital stays, petitioner Marilyn Zemek, who was already Powell’s friend, agreed to become her paid caretaker. She acknowledged at the time that Powell needed “constant companionship,” including help with “properly taking her medication.” Later in May 2016, petitioner took Powell to petitioner’s former attorney. He prepared new estate planning documents for Powell that left everything to petitioner. In June 2016, petitioner left Powell home alone for at least two days and perhaps as much as four days. During that time, Powell died of an overdose of her prescription medications. After Powell’s death, petitioner bought items using Powell’s credit card and emptied Powell’s bank accounts. Based on this evidence, a magistrate held petitioner to answer for crimes including murder, elder abuse, and grand theft. The trial court denied petitioner’s motion to set aside the information. Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals, arguing there was insufficient evidence: (1) of malice; (2) that she was the legal cause of Powell’s death; and (3) that the money she took did not belong to her. The Court rejected these contentions and affirmed the magistrate court’s decision.