Detroit nursing home beating victim dies, nephew says

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — A 75-year-old nursing home resident who was the alleged victim of a videotaped beating in May that made national news died Monday morning, his nephew said.

Norman Bledsoe had been depressed and was not eating properly since the May 15 beating at the Westwood Nursing Center in the 16850 block of Schaefer Highway on Detroit's northwest side, his nephew Kevin Bledsoe said.

Jaden Hayden

"His eating habits went downhill after (the alleged assault), and he lost quite a bit of weight," Kevin Bledsoe said. 

Bledsoe said he learned from his father Monday morning about his uncle's death, although he was unsure of the cause. 

Jaden Hayden, 20, of Ypsilanti faces two counts of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, theft, and two counts of credit card theft in connection with the alleged beating. He is awaiting a July 30 hearing to determine if he's mentally competent to stand trial, assistant Wayne County prosecutor Maria Miller said Monday.

Kevin Bledsoe said his uncle suffered four broken fingers, broken ribs and a broken jaw as a result of the attack.

Police also investigated other videos Hayden posted on his YouTube channel that they said appear to show him assaulting other people. Among the videos that Hayden posted are ones claiming African Americans are the "chosen people," female celebrities are really men and the novel coronavirus is God's punishment for gays and lesbians.

Because of the COVID-19 emergency, Bledsoe said visitors were kept away from the nursing home where his uncle was staying until last week.

"We finally were able to see him last week," he said. "He wasn't doing very good. I guess there just wasn't anything else they could do for him."

The family has retained attorney Geoffrey Fieger and plans to sue the nursing home. Fieger said Monday the planned lawsuit is moving forward.

A phone call made Monday to Midwest Legal Partners, the firm representing the nursing home, was not immediately returned.

Days after the alleged incident, Saif Kasmikha, the firm's managing attorney, released a statement to the media saying Westwood is cooperating with police and that the company's top priority is its residents' safety.

On May 21, President Donald Trump tweeted about the incident: "Is this even possible to believe? Can this be for real? Where is this nursing home, how is the victim doing?"

Multiple attempts to reach Hayden's family have been unsuccessful, although a man claiming to be his father told Fox 2 Detroit that Hayden had mental problems.

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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN