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Mother of deceased disabled man refuses to participate in mental health evaluation

Times Leader - 2/22/2024

Feb. 22—WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr. on Thursday denied a request by have Linasheri D'Onofrio participate and cooperate with a psychologist for a mental health evaluation.

The judge did, however, leave the door open for D'Onofrio's attorney, Max Lubin, to ask again in the future.

D'Onofrio, 56, was charged by state police at Wilkes-Barre, Plains Township police and county detectives in February 2023, with neglect of care of a dependant person and reckless burning, five years after the body of her son, Shain D'Onofrio, was found by Plains Township firefighters extinguishing a fire at a shed in the Mountain Ridge Mobile Home Park on Feb. 24, 2018.

Shain D'Onofrio, 24, had cerebral palsy and was confined to a wheelchair. D'Onofrio was the caretaker of her son while they lived in the mobile home park.

Court records say D'Onofrio placed the body of Shain D'Onofrio in a shed in early September 2017 until the morning of Feb. 24, 2018, when she moved the remains to another shed before setting it on fire.

Investigators alleged D'Onofrio needed to dispose of the remains due to an eviction notice she received two days earlier.

A status conference was held Thursday for Lubin to advise Sklarosky that D'Onofrio has refused to meet and participate with a psychologist for a mental health evaluation.

D'Onofrio claimed she does not need a mental health evaluation as she has never been diagnosed with mental illness.

As she has done during previous court proceedings, D'Onofrio blamed three men for abusing the corpse of her son and setting the fire.

"There is no evidence I did this crime," D'Onofrio said among other statements against the advice by Sklarosky and Lubin to remain quiet.

Sklarosky denied the request to have D'Onofrio participate and cooperate in a mental health evaluation but allowed Lubin to make another request at a later date.

While the county coroner's office was not able to determine the cause and manner of death for Shain D'Onofrio, a pediatrician at Lehigh Valley Hospital previously testified he died from "severe nutrition and egregious neglect" at the hands of another person.


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