Joliet man no longer faces murder charges in nursing home resident's death

A 71-year-old man who was arrested last month after an argument over laundry left a nursing home resident dead in Joliet is no longer facing first-degree murder charges.

William Paschall, 71, was arrested last month following an altercation at Salem Village Nursing and Rehabilitation located at 1314 Rowell Avenue.  Paschall was originally charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery of a person 60 years of age or older in the death of 61-year-old Michael Pappas. However, on Monday, the Will County State's Attorney's Office confirmed that a grand jury has now indicted him on two counts of aggravated battery.

On Nov. 17, Joliet police responded to the nursing home for a call of a battery on the sixth floor.

When officers arrived, they located Pappas unresponsive on the floor of the laundry room and not breathing. Nurses were providing CPR to Pappas until the Joliet Fire Department arrived and took over.

Paramedics told the nursing home staff that Pappas had no signs of life and the Will County Coroner pronounced him dead at 2:23 a.m. on Nov. 18.

Two witnesses at the scene, both employees of the nursing home, told police that Pappas was in the laundry area using the washing machine at about 9 p.m. and was using a seated walker to move about.

Paschall then allegedly began questioning Pappas if he would be cleaning up the "s--t." A nursing home staff employee then tried to keep the men separated. However, Paschall allegedly rose from his chair and grabbed Pappas' arm, pulling him.

It is then alleged that Paschall punched Pappas about four to five times in the head, with the blows partially knocking Pappas to the floor.

Witnesses at the scene told police that Paschall then grabbed Pappas' walker and began striking him about the body and head while yelling, "Die mother------."

Pappas then began exhibiting seizure-like symptoms. At that time, an employee pushed Paschall in the chest back into the wheelchair, moving him away from Pappas. 

According to the witnesses, neither man had any issues with one another before this incident.

Pappas had been in the home since 2016, while Paschall arrived about one year ago. 

Pappas was described as a quiet man who was very calm and respectful to staff, while Paschall was described by staff as a "time bomb," who routinely argued with other residents in the home. 

Following Pappas' death, Paschall gave two statements to police — one at the scene and the second in police custody.

In Paschall's first statement, he allegedly told police that he went into the laundry room to do laundry and asked whose clothes were in the washer. After learning they were Pappas' clothes, Paschall said he asked him whether he was going to clean up the feces.

According to Paschall, Pappas allegedly swore at him and began walking toward Paschall as he was backing out of the laundry room.

Paschall then said he became mad at Pappas and when Pappas came close enough, Paschall allegedly hit him in the head after pulling Pappas toward him "so he couldn't get away". 

Paschall claimed that Pappas was pretending to pass out when he fell to the floor and described Pappas as being "quieted down" after administering the punches, prosecutors said. 

Paschall also allegedly admitted to police that he has a temper like a "stick of dynamite."

After being transported to the Joliet Police Department, Paschall also allegedly told police that he had "no fear" of Pappas and that he doesn't "back down from a fight."

A judge has ordered Paschall to be detained in the Will County Jail until his trial.