A 91-year-old woman’s dementia is so severe that she could not testify at the trial of a Wesleyville man accused of stealing $15,000 from her in 2012 and 2013.
The defendant, David Burrows, testified the woman knew what she was doing when she gave him power of attorney over her finances.
The jurors rejected Burrows’ argument. With the woman’s mental state as the main evidence, they convicted him Friday of six charges, including four counts of theft and a count of misapplication of entrusted property. The jury deliberated 90 minutes to end the three-day trial in Erie County Court. Burrows’ first trial ended in a mistrial in September in a dispute over evidence.
Burrows, 54, has a prior record for elder abuse. His past could come up at his sentencing, which Judge John Garhart set for Jan. 29. Burrows was sentenced in 2005 to six months to three years in state prison and two years of probation for neglecting an 85-year-old man he was supposed to have cared for, using $2,500 a month from the man. Authorities found the man emaciated and caked in his own waste while living in Burrows’ basement.
In the latest case, Assistant District Attorney Michael Burns argued that the woman, who turns 92 on Sunday and lives in a nursing home, lacked the mental capacity to give Burrows valid written power of attorney. A psychologist testified the woman suffers from delirium and dementia. And even had the power of attorney been valid, Burns said, Burrows improperly spent what was entrusted to him. “This defendant took advantage of a woman who was weak and vulnerable,” Burns said. He said he will ask that Burrows pay $15,000 in restitution. Read more »