Following a three-day trial, Loudoun County Circuit Court jury on Wednesday acquitted a Martinsburg, WV, man who was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient at North Spring Behavioral Healthcare just north of Leesburg.
William P. Herndon, 47, was indicted in January by the multi-jurisdictional grand jury in Fairfax on charges of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 15-year-old victim from Norfolk.
An investigation conducted by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in coordination with the Office of the Medical Examiner and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office found the victim—a patient at the center who had been punching walls after an incident of being bullied—died after being restrained by the Herndon, who was a mental health technician at the facility.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office was called to the center, located on Victory Lane, about 3:37 p.m. Nov. 19, 2017, for to assist a rescue call. A boy was unresponsive and not breathing. He was taken to an area hospital where he died.The autopsy concluded that the boy died from positional asphyxiation.
In its acquittal verdict, the jury found that Herndon was not culpable of wrongdoing in the death.
A nurse at the health center, Melanie A. Lewis, 47. of Stephens City, also was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the case. Her trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 13.