Was it for love or money?

Sep. 24, 2013 @ 07:50 PM

Did a man in love simply spend too much money on his girlfriend?

Or did a woman take advantage of an intellectually disabled man to get him to withdraw money from his bank account for her?

Gladys Eubanks Gaddy, 54, of Durham, is standing trial in Durham County Criminal Superior Court on the charge of felony exploitation of a disabled or elderly person.

Prosecutors claim that she helped Anthony Wilson, whose IQ was in the lower 2.5 percent of the population, withdraw about $5,000 from his bank account and took some of that money for herself.

Gaddy's attorney, Elizabeth Curran, told the jury Wilson lived independently, had a job at Walmart and had the legal right to spend his own money the way he wanted. He fell in love with Gaddy and wanted to spend some of the money he earned on her, she said.

"No crime was committed here," she said.

Under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Luke Bumm, Wilson's sister, Mamie Wilson Watson, said her older brother was born with mental disabilities and didn't understand numbers or money.

Wilson had a job at Walmart as a greeter for 20 years and lost that job in May 2010, about the same time he began taking money from his bank account. The account was managed by Durham County Community Living Program, a nonprofit organization that runs group homes and provides services for people with intellectual disabilities.

Wilson lived in an apartment with a roommate and had a personal assistant who helped him with everyday tasks through the program, such as learning how to shop for groceries and cook.

When he entered the program, he signed a contract that allowed the Community Living Program to manage his money, and he paid $680 a month to be in the program. Each month, the program paid his bills and gave him a weekly allowance of $25 to $50 in spending money.

As part of the agreement with the bank that held his account, Anthony Wilson was not allowed to write checks, but he went there regularly and endorsed checks written by staff members on his account for his weekly spending money.

"He comes across as a guy who can be very independent but has trouble just doing simple things like taking care of his bills, eating a proper diet, getting to the doctor," said Brian Davis who lived with Wilson and served as his personal assistant.

Wilson met Gaddy at Walmart and they became friends.

"Anthony told us he was in love with her and asked her to marry him," said Elizabeth Scott, executive director of the Community Living Program.

In July 2010, Davis noticed that money was missing from Wilson's bank account.

At a meeting on July 20, 2011, Community Living Program staff, Wilson, his sister and Gaddy held a meeting to talk about some of his financial issues and where his money went.

Watson remembered that when her brother entered the room and hugged Gaddy, she told him, "I told you they were going to ask me about the money. I told you, 'Don't come in her and make me look bad,'" Watson said.

Scott testified Gaddy used some of the money to fix her car, buy items for her home and for a birthday party for a relative.

Gaddy began crying during the meeting, and after the meeting, Wilson became very upset because he wasn't going to be able to see Gaddy again. Gaddy made the decision that Wilson shouldn't see her again, Scott said.

Anthony Wilson took the stand Tuesday afternoon. Under direct examination by Bumm, Wilson said the people at the Community Living Program helped him budget his money, took him to the doctors office and took him grocery shopping.

"I just need help with a whole lot of stuff, but they help you out though, but right now I'm trying to do it on my own," Wilson said.

When asked about his relationship with Gaddy, he said he didn't know and didn't know what happened to his money. He said she was a close friend, but denied asking her to marry him.

However, under cross-examination by Curran, Wilson was more forthcoming.

He agreed he was in love with Gaddy, that he wanted to do nice things for her, spent time with her family and went to church with her.

"Is it right that some people at Community Living Program didn't like you seeing Ms. Gaddy?" Curran asked.

"Yes," Wilson replied.

She asked if he told an investigator that he took the money out of his account because he loved her from the bottom of his heart.

"Yes," Wilson replied.
The trial is scheduled to continue Monday morning.