ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE:
BRIAN G. DEKKER JEFFREY A. MODISETT
OBrien & Dekker Attorney General of Indiana
J. T. WHITEHEAD
Deputy Attorney General
LESLIE J. EDWARDS, ) ) Appellant-Defendant, ) ) vs. ) No. 79A02-9903-CR-214 ) STATE OF INDIANA, ) ) Appellee-Plaintiff. )
OPINION - FOR PUBLICATION
2. Is the evidence sufficient to support Edwardss conviction?
3. Did the jury render inconsistent verdicts by finding Edwards guilty of exploitation of
an endangered adult and not guilty of theft?
The evidence reveals that Edwards and his wife Pamela moved into the home of Marian Harris. Harris, an octogenarian, was in ill health. Harris, a relative of Pamelas,See footnote raised Pamela and Pamelas sister after their father was killed in Vietnam and their mother abandoned them. Harris lived in the same home from childhood through adulthood. After approximately one year, Edwards and Pamela moved from Harriss home, leaving her alone. When Edwardss relatives and local social services providers became suspicious of Edwards and Pamelas dealings with regard to Harriss property, an investigation ensued.
The evidence at trial disclosed that in July 1996, Harris was referred to Judy Davis. Davis was a money manager/coordinator for Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Services (Area IV Agency), a not-for-profit social service agency that assists in special services for frail, elderly, physically and mentally disabled clients. Record at 202. Harris was referred to Davis by Kim Baunach, a social service coordinator for a local hospital. At that time, Harris had glaucoma and could see very, very little. Record at 209. Documents had to be read to Harris because she could not read the print. Harris was also an insulin-dependent diabetic, and had recently suffered a mild stroke. Harriss family physician for thirty years testified that by March 1996, he had informed Pamela that Harris should be referred to Area IV Agency because she was unable to properly administer her daily insulin shots.
Davis met with Harris regarding Harriss bank statement. Davis believed that irregularities existed. Without objection at trial, Davis testified that she discovered $988 in checks to a local grocery in one 26-day period. On the back of each check was a notation that $25 in cash was obtained. The bank statement was for the month prior to Davis and Baunachs meeting with Harris. Davis and Baunach discovered that Harris had seven boxes of cereal, a few can goods, very little in the refrigerator, . . . and was in need of groceries at that time. Record at 204. Because Harris told Davis that she had not signed all of the checks, Davis and Baunach reported the information to Adult Protective Services (APS).
As Davis was leaving Harriss home, Edwards and Pamela were in the yard and inquired about Daviss meeting with Harris. Davis explained that she was concerned about the checks. Pamela stated that Harris was her mother and that she suspected that her sister had written the checks. Edwards and Pamela told Davis that they had been living with Harris for a period of time, but that they no longer lived with her.
Later that evening, Davis received a telephone call from Pamela. Pamela admitted that she had written some of the checks. Pamela asked about the consequences. Pamela also noted that she assisted Harris at times by cooking, helping around the house, and grocery shopping. Davis had a representative payee appointed for Harriss social security payments and obtained assistance for Harris with regard to her financial matters.
Davis and Banauch continued to investigate. Harris told them that although she owned her home, she had to sign some papers regarding the house. Record at 209. Davis enlisted the help of an attorney at Legal Services who found that, as of July 1996, all of the documents for the house still listed Harris as the owner. Davis met with Edwards, Pamela, and Harris at Harriss home. Davis described the meeting:
Mrs. Harris was very emphatic about the house was hers, so I called the two together to talk to them because there was suspicion that something had happened with the house, we just couldnt pin point (sic) what had happened, we just didnt know. They told her, actually Leslie Edwards said to her, you told us you wanted us to have the house, and she said I do when I die, it is still my house. And he made a remark about you knew what you were signing when you signed it, and I just kind of looked at him, and she I dont think really, because he kind of mumbled this a little bit. And then we went on to discuss the repercussions of selling the house if she had to go in a nursing home. He told her that they wanted to sell the house, wanted to sell the house in order to take care of her, that the money would be used to take care of her. And I explained to him that if the house was sold within a three year period of going to a nursing home that that could jeopardize her from her being on Medicaid, and that there could be a lot of problems concerning that.
Record at 211. In August, Davis discovered that there was a deed
for the house to Edwards and Pamela, and that the house had been
sold. None of the proceeds were deposited into Harriss accounts that Davis
administered under the Indiana State Money Management Program.
The Realtor who purchased the home from Edwards and Pamela noted that, after satisfying a mortgage on the property and paying two small claims court judgments against Edwards and Pamela, he gave Edwards and Pamela $13,163.55. Under the terms of the agreement to sell the house, Harris could live in the house rent-free for one year. After the year ended, Edwards telephoned the Realtor and said that he would pay rent so that Harris could remain in the house. Edwards never paid rent to the Realtor. See footnote Davis and the Legal Services attorney negotiated $300 per month rent payments for Harris. Harriss finances were very tight because of the rent and her high medical expenses. Record at 214. Harris was able to remain in the home until the spring of 1998 with the assistance of visiting nurses, family services, and attendant care.
In September 1996, Edwardss uncle, an FBI agent, discovered that Edwards and Pamela had come into some money. Record at 193. Edwardss uncle went to Harriss home and asked Edwards about the circumstances. Edwards told his uncle that he and Pamela had convinced Harris to sign the deed to the home over to them. Edwards and Pamela then sold the home. Edwards told his uncle that he and Pamela paid a small mortgage on the home, gave Harris $3,000, and kept the rest of the proceeds.
Edwards was charged with theft and exploitation of an endangered adult. Pamela was also charged, although the record does not contain the charging informations for Pamela. Edwards and Pamela were tried in a joint trial. They were each represented by separate counsel. Edwards brings this appeal individually.
(1) an endangered adult;
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for ones own profit or advantage or for the profit or advantage of another commits exploitation of a dependent or an endangered adult, a Class A misdemeanor.
IC § 35-46-1-12. Pursuant to IC § 35-46-1-1, for the purposes of
the above criminal statute, endangered adult is defined as:
(a) . . . an individual who is:
(1) at least eighteen (18) years of age;
(2) incapable by reason of mental illness, mental retardation, dementia, habitual drunkenness, excessive use of drugs, or other physical or mental incapacity of managing or directing the management of the individual's property or providing or directing the provision of self-care; and
(3) harmed or threatened with harm as a result of:
(B) battery; or
(C) exploitation of the individual's personal services or property.
(b) An individual is not an endangered adult solely:
(1) for the reason that the individual is being provided spiritual treatment in
accordance with a recognized religious method of healing instead of specified medical treatment
if the individual would not be considered to be an endangered adult if
the individual were receiving the medical treatment; or
(2) on the basis of being physically unable to provide self care when appropriate care is being provided.
Ind. Code Ann. § 12-10-3-2 (West Supp. 1999).
Edwards makes no argument with regard to Harris meeting the definition of an endangered adult. Edwards contends that the evidence with regard to the transaction involving Harriss home does not support the conviction. He contends that the jury necessarily relied upon the evidence of irregularities in Harriss checking account to convict him of exploitation. We do not agree.
Despite Edwardss efforts to cast his actions in a different light, the evidence discloses: 1) that Edwards and Pamela convinced Harris to sign a warranty deed giving them her home, 2) that Harris did not know that she had signed papers giving Edwards and Pamela her home, 3) that Harris believed that she still owned the home after she signed the document, 4) that Harris did not receive any proceeds from the sale of the home, and 5) that Harris was required to pay rent of $300 per month to remain in the home commencing one year after Edwards and Pamela sold the home and retained the proceeds. Edwards recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally deprived Harris of her property for his own advantage. The evidence supports Edwardss conviction for exploiting an endangered adult.
Jones v. State, 689 N.E.2d 722, 724 (Ind. 1997). [O]rdinarily, when a
defendant is acquitted of some charges and convicted of others, the results will
survive a claim of [in]consistency where the convictions are supported by sufficient evidence.
Jordan v. State, 692 N.E.2d at 484. We have concluded that
the evidence is sufficient to sustain the conviction for exploitation of an endangered
Further, contrary to Edwardss allegation, the theft statute and the exploitation statute differ in several respects, including the culpability requirement. Theft requires knowing or intentional conduct. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-43-4-2 (West 1998). As set out above, the statute proscribing exploitation of an endangered adult may be violated by knowing, intentional, or reckless conduct. Cf. Elliott v. State, 690 N.E.2d 774 (Ind. Ct. App. 1998) (discussing culpability required for reckless conduct). We do not find the verdicts inconsistent.
NAJAM, J., and RILEY, J., concur.