911 Operator Guilty of Blowing Off Call Posted: 2008-01-18 22:20:28 Filed Under: Crime News, Nation News DETROIT (Jan. 18) - A jury convicted a 911 operator Friday of willful neglect of duty after authorities said she didn't take seriously a boy's calls to report his mother had collapsed. The mother was found dead three hours after the first call. The misdemeanor charge against Sharon Nichols is punishable by up to a year in jail. She will be sentenced March 11. Photo Gallery Carlos Osorio, AP 911 Operator Dismissed Call Sharon Nichols, right, standing next to her attorney Cornelius Pitts in 2006, was found guilty Friday of willful neglect of duty for failing to respond appropriately to a boy's call that his mother needed help. Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Lora Weingarden said she was more than satisfied with the verdict. "I hope that it makes every 911 operator in the city and across the country think real hard before dismissing a call as a prank," Weingarden said outside the courtroom. She said the case marks the first time nationally that a 911 operator has been charged with a crime for mishandling a phone call, the Detroit Free Press reported. Nichols, 45, testified she could not hear the then-5-year-old boy on the other end of the line. Authorities said Robert Turner called 911 twice on Feb. 20, 2006, to report his mother had passed out. Robert, now 7, testified that Nichols hung up on him and accused him of playing games. Police found Sherrill Turner, 46, dead three hours after the first call. A wrongful death lawsuit against the city argues Sherrill Turner, who had an enlarged heart, would have survived if help had been sent immediately. Nichols and her attorney, Cornelius Pitts, left the courthouse without commenting. Charges were dismissed Wednesday against operator Terri Sutton, who took the boy's second call. She was accused of ignoring protocol by requesting police instead of emergency personnel. Judge Paula Humphries said Sutton may have been rude but there was no evidence of willful neglect.