A 21-year-old Baton Rouge woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to negligent homicide in the gruesome 2014 bedsore-related death of her 82-year-old grandmother.

Lauren Looney, who was 17 when an emaciated Bessie Looney was found folded over in a wheelchair, sitting in her own waste and riddled with bedsores, was scheduled to stand trial later this month on a manslaughter charge.


Negligent homicide carries up to five years in prison.

Joleslie Looney, the 56-year-old mother of Lauren Looney and daughter of Bessie Looney, was convicted last month of manslaughter in her mother's death.


She faces up to 40 years in prison.

State District Judge Mike Erwin will sentence Joleslie Looney on April 10 and Lauren Looney on April 20.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his office weighed the relative responsibility of Joleslie and Lauren Looney in Bessie Looney’s death before accepting the younger Looney’s plea.

“We believe that Lauren Looney’s plea to negligent homicide is commensurate with her level of criminal culpability due in part to her age (17) at the time of the homicide, and more importantly she was not the primary adult caregiver that undertook the promise to care for Bessie Looney,” he said.

East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark classified Bessie Looney's death at her North Acadian Thruway West home a homicide. He concluded she died from a blood infection caused by severely infected bedsores. Clark also found that malnutrition, dementia and heart disease were contributing factors in her death.

Lauren Looney’s attorney, Gail Ray, said the young woman is in need of drug and mental health treatment, and she hopes she receives such treatment as part of her sentence.

Ray said there is a history of depression in the Looney family.

“She told me she felt like depression raised her,” Ray said outside Erwin’s courtroom. “She thinks she needs some help.”

Lauren Looney was arrested last summer and booked on counts of felony cocaine possession, misdemeanor marijuana possession and resisting an officer. She is due in court April 20 on those charges.


Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.