Arizona elder abuse case

Woman convicted in elder-abuse case
Kim Smith
August 7, 2009
Arizona Daily Star
A woman already serving 10.5 years in prison for running over and killing an octogenarian is now facing an extra 26 years for stealing from him.

Linda Darlene Giles, 57, was convicted Thursday afternoon of theft from a vulnerable adult and vulnerable-adult abuse, said Assistant Attorney General John Evans. Giles will be sentenced next month by Pima County Superior Court Judge Christopher Browning.

During opening statements last week, Evans told jurors James Carafas was a lonely, ill widower who was losing his eyesight and hearing when Giles took advantage of him. She emotionally abused and intimidated Carafas, and abused her position of trust and confidence to exploit him financially, Evans said.

Giles persuaded Carafas to name her his sole beneficiary, put more than $100,000 into a bank account for her and open a joint account with her, Evans said. Carafas also put her on the deeds of more than a dozen rental properties he owned.
Defense attorney Anthony Abruzzo told jurors Carafas made all of those financial decisions of his own accord because of the pair’s close relationship.

Abruzzo told jurors Carafas and Giles first met in New York in 1975, and, at times, Giles was the older man’s friend, daughter, mistress and roommate.

While Evans characterized Giles as Carafas’ caretaker, the opposite was true, Abruzzo said during his opening statement. Carafas insisted he wanted to take care of Giles, the defense attorney said.

The jurors weren’t told that Carafas died in November 2006 and Giles was sentenced to 10.5 years in prison for running over and killing him with his own pickup truck. A jury convicted Giles of manslaughter in March.

During that trial, Deputy Pima County Attorney Dan Nicolini told jurors the couple were arguing inside his Foothills home when it spilled out into the driveway. Giles got into Carafas’ truck and made a sharp turn of the wheel, knocked Carafas, 85, down and ran him over with the back left wheel, Nicolini said.

Abruzzo maintained that Giles didn’t see Carafas.