PLACERVILLE, Calif.—The former head nurse at a California nursing home is facing trial for felony elderly abuse in the death of an Alzheimer's patient.

Investigators say 77-year-old Johnnie Esco was supposed to be constantly monitored by nurses at Placerville's El Dorado Care Center. But she died of fecal impaction in 2008 after 13 days in the nursing home.

The Sacramento Bee ( http://sacb.ee/TsuGI8) says a judge on Tuesday ordered trial for 58-year-old registered nurse Donna Darlene Palmer.

Prosecutors say neglect led to Esco's painful and unnecessary death.

Palmer was one of two nurses charged in the woman's death.

Prosecutors say 39-year-old Rebecca Smith agreed to plead no contest to felony elder abuse in exchange for a possible suspended jail sentence and her willingness to help prosecutors in the Palmer case.

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Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com