Plea deal rejected in elder neglect, exploitation case
HUNTINGTON -- A woman charged with three felony counts of neglecting an incapacitated adult and single counts of financial exploitation and conspiracy to neglect had a plea deal thrown out in Cabell Circuit Court Thursday.
Under the terms of the deal, April Fairburn, who was acting as a adult care provider to three elderly women in her home in Lesage in 2011 and 2012, would have pleaded guilty to a count of financial exploitation, a misdemeanor.
Cabell Circuit Judge Paul Farrell threw the plea out after Fairburn wouldn't admit to doing anything wrong under oath.
"The money, I thought, was supposed to be mine, and I did spend that money," Fairburn said. "It was a misunderstanding."
Farrell said that didn't sound like an admission of guilt to him.
Fairburn's attorney, Richard Vital, said that was the only response he had gotten out of Fairburn, who was appearing in court Thursday because she had not shown up for her hearing last week.
Any possible financial restitution that could be made was also part of the plea agreement, though Farrell said he thought that was unlikely.
"I doubt she's going to make restitution," he said. "I've had Ms. Fairburn in my court several times over my three-year career."
With no admission of guilt, Farrell set a trial date on all the charges of the indictment, including the three felonies, for Sept. 16.
Farrell's co-defendant, Brandon Williams, appeared briefly before Farrell for a status conference Thursday.
His attorney said he is still working on plea arrangements with the prosecutor's office. Williams is expected to appear in court again June 13.
Investigators have alleged they found the three women Fairburn was caring for living in dirty conditions, and discovered they were not receiving their medications or their meals on a regular basis. They further alleged that one of the women had sores on her feet from being forced to wear shoes that were two small, while another was suffering from an untreated dog bite.
Fairburn and Williams are accused of intentionally misappropriating more than $1,000 that belonged to the three women.
Follow reporter Ben Fields on Twitter @BenFieldsHD
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