An El Cajon woman accused of neglecting her severelydisabled son until he died and pocketing about $60,000 in annual governmentsubsidies pleaded not guilty Tuesday to dependent adult abuse causing greatbodily injury.

Deborah Dawn Marlow, 58, was ordered held on $250,000 bail in the deathof her 28-year-old son, Jeremy.

The victim's younger brother, 26-year-old Christopher Travis Marlow,faces the same charges and is held on the same bail.z

Both defendants face up to seven years in prison if convicted, saidDeputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals.

"They're both equally culpable,'' Mechals said of the mother and son.

The prosecutor was asked why the defendants were not facing more seriouscharges, such as manslaughter or murder, in the victim's death.

"It all comes down to intent,'' Mechals said outside court.

He said Deborah Marlow was the victim's primary caregiver in earlieryears, and Christopher Marlow took over that role more recently.

The mother and son were arrested last Thursday night at Lindbergh Field.

The case came to the attention of authorities in January, whenChristopher Marlow called 911 because the victim was having trouble breathing,Mechals said.

Jeremy, who was severely retarded and suffered from cerebral palsy, diedJan. 26 after five days at Grossmont Hospital, during which his heart stoppedseveral times, the prosecutor said. The medical staff described the patient'scondition as being the result of "torture,'' he said.

Investigators who went to the Marlow family's apartment on Graves Avenuein unincorporated El Cajon found the door to Jeremy's room locked and had topry it open, Mechals said. When they did, they found a mattress soaked inurine, feces and black mold, he said.

"The apartment was filthy,'' Mechals said Monday at ChristopherMarlow's arraignment. "It was a deplorable situation in which nobody, nomatter their mental acuity, should have to live through.''

The defendants went to Georgia when the investigation started, but theprocess to extradite them was slowed because of Deborah Marlow's health,according to Mechals.

He said they learned the two were coming back to San Diego and arrestedthem at the airport.

Mechals said Deborah Marlow recently had a leg amputated.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, Jeremy had notseen a doctor in a year, weighed less than 100 pounds and was covered withsores when he arrived at the hospital. Doctors said he was brought in too lateto be saved.

Sgt. Mark Varnau said there was no evidence that any of the governmentmoney was spent on caring for Jeremy. Instead, his mother and brother watchedhim waste away, he said.

Varnau said the defendants fled to Georgia without the decency toarrange a funeral for Jeremy, who was buried in a pauper's grave. They alsoleft behind a cat that was so aggressive toward people that animal controlofficers had it put to sleep.

Mechals said investigators were still investigating aspects of the case,and more charges could be filed against the Marlows later.

El Cajon Judge Charles Ervin scheduled a readiness conference for Aug.20 and a preliminary hearing for Aug. 23.