Misdemeanors dropped for Dillsburg-area woman accused of abusing husband with dementia

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A Dillsburg-area woman originally accused of hitting and verbally abusing her husband, who suffered from dementia, had her misdemeanor charges dropped this week.

Melody Ann Adams, 63, of Carroll Township, pleaded guilty Monday in York County Court to the summary version of harassment, for cursing at her husband.

In exchange, prosecutors dropped charges of striking a care-dependent person and communicating in lewd, threatening or obscene language to a care-dependent person, according to court records.

She was ordered to pay a $300 fine, defense attorney Heather Reiner said. Summary citations are akin in seriousness to traffic tickets.

Adams' husband, 74-year-old Terry Adams, died May 1 of complications from COVID-19, according to his obituary.

Scales of justice logo

He was in a nursing home at the time, Reiner confirmed, but not admitted there by his wife.

Carroll Township Police filed charges against Melody Adams on Jan. 13, alleging Terry Adams had lost weight while in his wife's care.

Police had alleged that surveillance video from inside the couple's home showed Melody Adams slapping her husband in the arm or on his side because he needed help getting dressed.

Another surveillance video provided to police showed Melody Adams calling her ailing husband a "motherf—er" several times and when he told her he had a headache, she said, "You already took Tylenol, suffer with it," and again used profanity, according to court documents.

Reiner said the surveillance videos came from Terry Adams' phone.

"These videos would somehow be saved on Terry’s phone and there was no way he could have done it himself," she said.

Forensic analysis: She said she had the phone forensically analyzed and the expert's report suggests someone made changes to it that allowed someone to remotely turn on surveillance video without Melody Adams' knowledge.

Although court documents accused Melody Adams of slapping her husband on video as she was helping him get dressed, "the noise was actually his belt buckle hitting a piece of furniture," Reiner said. "Nobody even bothered to analyze the evidence."

Reiner acknowledged her client used profane language toward her husband.

"It's a few seconds, taken out of context," she said. "It's not a fair depiction of what was happening."

The forensic examination of the phone showed that evidence on it had been tampered with, according to Reiner, who said that's part of the reason why the agreement was reached.

The York County District Attorney's Office did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

>>Like what you’re reading? Not a subscriber? Click here for full access to The York Dispatch’s hard-hitting news, local sports and entertainment.