Plea deal rejected for couple accused of stealing from elderly woman

A plea deal for a young couple accused of helping themselves to an elderly woman’s bank account fell apart Friday after the judge had heard from the victim.


Assistant District Attorney Josh Smith said he was agreeing to allow Douglas Hadden and Brittney Hurst plead guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor theft by deception because they were prepared to pay the entire restitution Friday.

Hadden, 27, and Hurst, 26, were to have stood trial this week in Richmond County Superior Court on felony charges of identity fraud and exploitation or intimidation of elderly persons, accused of using Hadden’s grandmother’s bank account to buy an iPhone 7 at Christmas. The victim discovered a $1,814.29 charge Jan. 12. When she confronted Hadden, he got ugly, the prosecutor said.

“First of all, I love my grandson,” the grandmother told Judge James G. Blanchard Jr., but she said Hadden became very aggressive when she confronted him. The judge asked her to explain.

Hadden said he wished she were dead or in a nursing home. He told her he would keep her from her great-grandson and that he would see to it that she was in jail while they live and laugh in her home.

Hadden and Hurst, whom she had let live at her home with their child for four months, needed structure to learn to live like adults, she told Blanchard. She said she also thought Hadden needed anger management.

Anger management wasn’t part of the plea negotiation, said defense attorney Jason Hasty. She had let them use her debit card for various things, and the case should have been a civil, not a criminal, matter, he said. Hadden spent 12 days in jail before he could make bond.

Hurst’s attorney Jesse Owen, told the judge that she brought him $2,000 for restitution as soon as she could. He put the money in the trust fund and brought a check for the full restitution Friday, Owen said.

Blanchard refused to accept the plea negotiation. He revoked bond for Hadden and Hurst and ordered them taken into custody.

The next available trial date is June 5. Blanchard told the attorneys to be ready to try the case that week.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226



Wed, 02/21/2018 - 16:53

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