Athens Review, Athens, Texas

July 17, 2013

Man convicted for theft from elderly

Trinidad resident arrested with girlfriend, faces up to 10 years in prison for crime

From Staff Reports
The Athens Review

Athens — It took less than 15 minutes for a Henderson County Jury on Tuesday to find Brian Keith Fugett, 36, of Trinidad guilty of theft from an elderly person in the 392nd District Court.  The case was prosecuted by Scott McKee’s District Attorney’s Office. 

Fugett, along with his girlfriend,  Brandi Melton, were arrested in August of 2012 by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office for the offense.

According to Sheriff’s reports and testimony at trial, Fugett and Hyde were hired by an 84 year-old woman’s daughters to help care for their elderly mother who was also suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Beginning in May of last year, the daughters noticed that some of their mother’s belongings were missing from her home.  At the time, the daughters believed the missing items were gone because their mother had misplaced them.

However, in August they noticed that many large items, such as sterling silver flatware, plates and jewelry were also missing.

The daughters contacted the Sheriff’s Office. Investigators Casey Hampton and Brad Gray conducted the investigation. During their investigation, investigators found pawn tickets at a Gun Barrel City Pawn shop linking Fugett and Melton to the stolen property.

Fugett and Melton were promptly arrested. Fugett stood trial first, beginning Monday in the 392nd Judicial District Court. Assistant District Attorneys Jenny Palmer and Daniel Cox prosecuted the case. Due to her medical condition, Cox was not able to testify. Instead, her daughters took the stand to testify as to their mother’s declining mental health and how they noticed that their mother’s property was missing.

The owner of the pawn shop where the pawn tickets were located by Hampton and Gray also testified that he bought the property from Fugett and Melton.

In her closing argument, Palmer urged the jury to send the message that the weakest and most vulnerable in our society will be protected.

Cox told the jury they should be saddened and outraged that people would take advantage of the sick and elderly and asked that the jury deliver justice to Fugett. After only 14 minutes of deliberations, the jury found Fugett guilty.

Fugett will be sentenced by Judge Harold Entz on Aug. 23, and faces up to 10 years in prison. Melton is set to stand trial for the same offense in September.

 “I am very pleased with the outcome of this case.” said District Attorney Scott McKee. “The Henderson County Sheriff’s investigators did a great job in finding the people responsible for such a despicable crime.” 

McKee also indicated that he was proud of the passion his attorney’s displayed in prosecuting the crime.