Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hung again Jury deadlocks for second time in adult exploitation case


In a replay of a trial nearly two years ago, a Boyle County jury deadlocked again on the question of whether Anne Rush committed a crime by exploiting her elderly grandmother for her own financial gain.

Circuit Judge Darren Peckler was forced to declare another mistrial Friday after jurors deliberated for three hours and came out hung, with nine in favor of acquittal and three voting for conviction. A unanimous verdict is required in criminal cases.

Last week’s five-day trial mirrored the one in February 2014, with the same special prosecutor, Barbara Whaley of the attorney general’s office, and the same defense attorneys, Travis Lock and John Reynolds of Bowling Green, arguing over the same evidence and producing the same result.

Whaley presented stacks of documents showing the financial records of Geraldine Waits, Rush’s grandmother who was diagnosed with early stage dementia in 2007 and whose condition worsened until Rush became her caretaker in 2010.

Rush took advantage of Waits’ deteriorated mental state to drain her bank accounts and take possession of her property, altogether valued at about $200,000, Whaley told jurors in her lengthy closing argument Friday morning.

After gaining power of attorney and placing Waits in a nursing home, Rush cashed in her grandmother’s certificates of deposit and bought a pickup truck, paid care for her horses and deeded herself Waits’ 57-acre farm on Scrubgrass Road, Whaley said, leaving Waits unable to pay for her nursing home care.

Waits died last year, a ward of the state.

“It’s not a robbery, it’s not an assault, it’s not a sexual offense, but it’s no less a crime,” Whaley said of the statute under which Rush was charged, exploitation of an adult more than $300. “It’s a crime what she did to an 86-year-old woman, her own grandmother.”

And, just like in 2014, Rush’s attorneys argued that Waits granted Rush power of attorney over her affairs because her granddaughter had cared for her as her condition worsened. The power of attorney agreement that Waits signed gave Rush the authority to give gifts to herself and others.

In his closing argument, Lock described the case as “a family squabble that ended up in criminal court.” He accused Whaley of using “smoke and mirrors” to manufacture her case against Rush.

“The commonwealth wants you to believe Anne Rush forced her grandmother to give her power of attorney. That’s what granny wanted! Where is the evidence to the contrary? There is none,” Lock argued. “That power of attorney gave Anne Rush the legal authority to do what she did, even if you don’t like what she did.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if Whaley intends to seek a third trial. Peckler set a status hearing on the case for Jan. 5.
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Hung again Jury deadlocks for second time in adult exploitation case

2 comments:

Sara said...

WTF?

Laura said...

Wonder if we'll ever get the real story?