Wednesday, May 31, 2017

After Week-Long Trial, Jury Takes Less Than Three Hours To Slam Guilty Verdict On Massachusetts Man For Duping Elderly, Mentally Incapacitated Neighbor Into Signing Over Her Home To Him As She Lay On Her Deathbed; Defendant Dodges Jail Time, Must Pay $2,500 Fine & Relinquish Title To Swindled House

In Lowell, Massachusetts, the Lowell Sun reports:
  • Former Lowell Building Inspector David St. Hilaire knew his elderly neighbor was mentally incapacitated when he got her to sign her home over to him as she lay on her deathbed in 2010, a jury determined on Monday [May 22].

    St. Hilaire was found guilty of larceny over $250 from an elderly person following a weeklong jury trial in Woburn Superior Court. Judge Bruce Henry scheduled sentencing for Thursday at 2 p.m.

    St. Hilaire was convicted of the same charge in 2012 following a bench trial, but the Supreme Judicial Court overturned that conviction in 2015 when it ruled the judge in the case erred by not requiring proof that St. Hilaire knew his neighbor was incapacitated.

    The jury spent less than three hours deliberating after a retrial this week.

    St. Hilaire got his longtime neighbor, Erika Magill, to sign her property at 205 Billerica St., over to him on July 26, 2010, as she was critically ill in a nursing home.

    St. Hilaire said Magill agreed to let him have the property in exchange for two mortgages totaling about $92,000, and for a "life estate" that let her live in the home until her death.

    Magill died about two weeks later, and never saw a penny of the promised payments.

    Two weeks before she signed the property over to St. Hilaire, Magill had her attorney, state Sen. Eileen Donoghue, update her will to make longtime friend and caretaker Lisa Miele the sole beneficiary of the property.

    Assistant District Attorney Heidi Gosule said Magill, before she fell ill, told several friends that St. Hilaire had always wanted her property, but that "no way in hell was he ever getting it."
    [G]osule said Magill's condition quickly deteriorated in the days before she signed St. Hilaire's paperwork.

    "I would suggest it would have been obvious to a stranger that Erika Magill was not competent to consent, and the defendant was there twice a day," Gosule said. "Of course he knew she wasn't competent. Of course he knew she couldn't consent."

    Gosule suggested the jury should disregard St. Hilaire's statement to police in which he said Magill had "never looked better" than she had on the 26th.

    She said Magill was suffering from a major infection at the time, and called it "outrageous" that St. Hilaire could have thought she never looked better.

    "All you have to do is use your common sense and everyday experience to know that he's lying. He's lying because he knew what he was doing," Gosule said. "What the defendant did is outrageous. What he wants you to believe is outrageous."
Source: Ex-Lowell building inspector guilty of bilking dying woman of her home.

For story update, see Ex-Lowell building inspector fined $2,500, must turn over house in larceny case:
  • Longtime friends of the late Erika Magill said Magill will finally be able to rest in peace now that her Billerica Street home will be conveyed to the caretaker she left it to in her will.
    Hilaire took advantage of Magill's incapacitation when he got her to sign paperwork giving him the home in exchange for $92,000 and a life estate that allowed her to live in the home until her death. Prosecutors said the deal included a clause that said payments for the home would continue only until Magill's death. She died without having ever received a single penny.

    St. Hilaire was convicted of larceny in connection with the case in 2012, and was ordered to convey the home to Miele, to serve two years of probation and to pay a $2,500 fine.