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More charges on the way for UC Davis nurse accused of abusing boy in hospice care, DA says

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — County prosecutors are currently looking to file additional charges against Edgar Gomez Burgion, the former UC Davis nurse accused of abusing a 13-year-old boy in hospice care on dozens of occasions during a three-day shift.

Burgion was arrested and charged in early December with four felonies: two counts of endangering the life of a child and two counts of inflicting corporal injury on a child. He was initially booked under an additional hate crime enhancement for allegedly attacking the boy because of his disability, but prosecutors didn’t include that charge in their case.

At a tense hearing held late that month, Burgion’s attorney, Larry Pilgrim, argued for pretrial release against local prosecutor Sydne Jones, who urged a judge to hold the 48-year-old without bail.

Jones said the District Attorney’s Office was in the possession of a 72-hour nanny cam video provided by the victim’s family, which allegedly showed Burgion hurting the boy approximately 27 different times. That video, Jones said, could lead to more charges being brought against Burgion.

“Just so Mr. Pilgrim is aware, now that we have the footage, there will certainly be more charges coming based on what we have in the footage,” Jones said.

Burgion, who has been terminated by the UC Davis Medical Center and had his state-granted vocational nurse license revoked by the Attorney General’s Office, worked three shifts where he was the defendant’s caregiver over three days. During that time, when he wasn’t asleep on the sofa, he allegedly horribly abused the boy, who is nonverbal.

He allegedly struck the boy with a suction tool used to keep him from gagging on his own saliva and, at one point, shoved it down the boy’s throat – leaving it there for so long that he was unable to breathe. Burgion also punched the boy in his face and genital region, violently moved his face around, and slammed him down onto his bed.

“He tells the victim to shut up, he quietly says other things in a demeaning voice…” Jones recalled at the December hearing. “And that’s just some of the conduct.”

Pilgrim, who wasn’t in possession of the videotape at the time, said the accusations against his client were “uncomfortable” and “horrible”, but moved for lower bail because of Burgion’s close ties to the Sacramento area, clean criminal history, and low flight risk.

“I’ve just got to emphasize he has no record of discipline as a nurse,” Pilgrim said. “He was full-time employed at UC Davis Medical Center as a nurse. He’s 48. He has no criminal record.”

Pilgrim asked the court for $50,000 bail, which was ultimately denied by Judge Michael Savage, who revoked his client’s bail, all but guaranteeing he would spend the near future in the Sacramento County Main Jail.

“These facts, this is as egregious as it gets. The only thing that didn’t happen, apparently, is that he did not inflict a greater injury, but the child is completely helpless,” Savage said. “He was literally, as Ms. Jones says, tortured for three days by his caretaker.”

In a statement emailed to The Update, Chief DDA Rod Norgaard declined to comment on the office’s push for more charges in the case, citing office rules involving ongoing investigations.

“Because a criminal case has been filed and criminal charges are still pending in this case, it is considered an open investigation.  We will not comment on the nature of any ongoing investigation on the matter or potential new charges at this time,” Norgaard said.

Burgion returns to court on Thursday for a settlement conference, where his attorney and the DA’s Office will work to negotiate a resolution to the case in the interest of justice. If those talks fall apart, and he pleads not guilty, prosecutors will seek to establish probable cause to eventually move to trial.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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