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Mistrial declared in case of woman charged with client's abuse, neglect

Rebecca Fierle, a guardian to 75-year-old Steven Stryker, is accused of placing a "do not resuscitate" order on him. He died in May 2019.

TAMPA, Fla. — A Hillsborough County judge declared a mistrial Monday in the case of a former Florida guardian accused of causing the death of an elderly man in May 2019.

The judge issued the ruling when a jury deadlocked since deliberating in the case charging Rebecca Fierle with aggravated abuse and neglect of an elderly person, 75-year-old Steven Stryker. 

Jurors on Friday told the judge that they needed more time to deliberate the case. It resumed Monday with the judge telling them to take as much time as needed to reach a verdict before the mistrial was called.

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. 

In 2019, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated claims he did not want a "do not resuscitate" order and he had stated, many times, that he wanted to live. Fierle ordered his doctors not to perform any life-prolonging procedures, the FDLE said.

She reportedly ordered doctors at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa to cap Stryker's feeding tube.

Stryker died on May 13, 2019.

Fierle was arrested in February 2020. She allegedly placed "do not resuscitate" orders on other clients without their permission.

"All I can say is that this is extremely emotional for me. I’ve waited a long time to see her held accountable for how she treated my father," said the daughter of Stryker, Kim Stryker, to WKMG-TV at the time of Fierle's arrest.

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