Guilty pleas given by couple in Ossipee elder abuse case
By LARISSA MULKERN Special to the Union Leader
OSSIPEE - A husband and wife who were charged with kidnapping the man's elderly mother and not providing medical attention after she had fallen have averted trial after pleading guilty to one count each of misdemeanor reckless conduct.
The couple, Darin Brown, 44, and his wife, Sharon Giordano, 39, were charged with two counts each of kidnapping and one count each of criminal restraint, second-degree assault and resisting arrest.
Brown's case was listed for jury selection on the court's January docket, but a heavy volume, lack of judges the last two weeks of February, and other pending criminal trials pushed the jury selection and trial in Brown's case to April.
Jury selection in Giordano's case had been scheduled for May 6.
According to court documents, Justice Steven Houran dismissed all of the charges in exchange for guilty pleas to one count each of misdemeanor reckless conduct.
The new complaint, filed by County Attorney Robin Gordon, alleges that the defendants "did commit the crime of reckless conduct in that he/she recklessly engaged in conduct that placed or may have placed another in danger of serious bodily injury in that while he was providing care for Joan Brown he/she did not seek medical treatment for her after Joan Brown had suffered an injury and was unable to walk."
Defense Attorney Eric Wolpin of the New Hampshire Public Defender's office in Laconia represented the couple.
In a related court motion, Justice Houran granted Wolpin's motion to exceed the $4,100 fee cap for representing defendants in felony cases. Justice Houran granted the motion but capped expenses at $5,000 per case. Wolpin did not return a request for comment by late Thursday afternoon.
Brown and Giordano were sentenced to time served and given 253 days pretrial confinement credit. They were released from county jail on March 25 after having been held on $100,000 cash or surety bail since their arrest last summer.
The couple was arrested on July 14, 2012 after family members in Stoneham, Mass., reported that Joan Brown, who was 80 years old at the time, had gone missing and was believed to be in the custody of her son and daughter-in-law.
Family members hired a private investigator, who tracked Joan Brown to Giordano's second home in West Ossipee. Ossipee Police followed through and arrested the couple.
They discovered that Joan Brown had recently fallen down the stairs to the basement, but was not taken to the hospital.
After police arrested the couple, Joan Brown was taken to the hospital where she received medical attention for an injured hip.
In court documents related to the plea deal, the court restricts the defendants from having contact with Darin Brown's brother, Daryl, but does not specifically restrict contact with Joan Brown.