Veguilla

Jose Veguilla, (center) the man accused of murdering his roommate at Oxford Rehabilitation and Health Care Center Saturday night, appears in court on Monday. 

HAVERHILL — The elderly man charged with killing his roommate in a local nursing home hit the victim in the head with a metal walker several times, according to police reports.

The report, on file in Haverhill District Court, said Jose Veguilla swung a walker and hit victim Robert Boucher several times as he was lying in bed in their room at the Oxford Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, causing injuries to Boucher's face and head that killed him.

The police report said that just after 7:30 p.m. Saturday, a nurse entered the room shared by Veguilla, Boucher and one other resident of the nursing home. The other man was out of the room. The nurse gave medication to Boucher and tried to give medication to Veguilla, who refused to take it, according to the report.

The report said the nurse left the room but returned when she heard commotion and saw Veguilla holding his walker close to shoulder height and Boucher bleeding heavily from his face and head. The nurse told Veguilla to stop and he warned her to leave the room or he would hit her, according to the report.

The report said other staff members called police and a nursing assistant then entered the room and saw Veguilla hit Boucher again with the walker, which was covered in blood. The nursing assistant talked to Veguilla, who speaks Spanish, and convinced him to leave the room, the report said. He walked out and sat in a common dining area, with his walker by his side, according to the report.

Veguilla told the nursing assistant that he thought "it was a setup and he had to kill Boucher," according to the police report.

Shortly after police arrived, Boucher and Veguilla were both taken from the nursing home at 689 Main St. to Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley in Haverhill, where Boucher was pronounced dead and Veguilla was kept under police watch, the report said.

At Monday's arraignment of Veguilla in Haverhill District Court, court psychologist Kerry Nelligan, who examined Veguilla said he has dementia, was disoriented at the hearing and didn't know what day, month or year it is.

Judge Patricia Dowling ordered that Veguilla be sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for 20 days for competency evaluation to determine how the court will handle the case.

In court, Veguilla, who is 5 feet-6 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds, was handcuffed behind his back and appeared weak and confused. He walked with the assistance of a police officer.

A statement released Monday by the nursing home's parent company reads: "Our hearts go out to the families of those involved in Saturday night’s incident. The safety and well-being of our residents is our primary concern, and we are fully cooperating with the Haverhill and State Police Departments in their ongoing investigation. Out of respect for that investigation, we will not comment any further at this time.''

The statement came from Tim Brown, director of Marketing & Communications for Athena Health Care Systems.

Watch eagletribune.com for developments in this story. A fill report will appear in Tuesday's print edition of The Eagle-Tribune and online at eagletribune.com.

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