TAMPA, Fla. — A Hillsborough County jury needs more time to decide if a former Florida guardian caused the death of a 75-year-old Tampa man.
Rebecca Fierle was arrested and charged in February 2020 with aggravated abuse and neglect of an elderly person. That's in relation to the death of Steven Stryker.
Fierle was appointed to be Stryker's guardian in September 2018. A guardian is appointed to someone when they aren’t able to make medical and financial decisions for themselves.
On May 9, 2019, Fierle ordered doctors at St. Joseph’s Hospital to cap Stryker’s feeding tube and placed a "do not resuscitate" order on him.
Just days later on May 13, Stryker died. Stryker’s family said he didn’t want a DNR placed on him, and he wanted to live.
Shortly after Stryker’s death, Gov. Ron DeSantis called an investigation into Florida's guardianship program.
In July 2019, Fierle resigned from 450 guardianships she was in charge of which were throughout 16 Florida counties. That same day, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement began a criminal investigation.
In February 2020, Fierle was arrested and charged with aggravated abuse and neglect of an elderly person in relation to Stryker’s death.
It was discovered she was placing DNR orders on other clients without their permission.
Friday evening a Hillsborough County jury told the judge they needed more time to deliberate. The jury will be back in court Monday morning. That’s when a verdict could be decided.