A 23-year-old defendant received a suspended sentence and probation Friday when he pleaded guilty to financially exploiting an elderly and disabled Joplin resident.

Donald A. Davis pleaded guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court to a Class D felony count of financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person in a plea agreement with the prosecutor's office.

Court records indicate that the defendant convinced a 66-year-old man with a head injury to let him move into his house and live with him rent-free and then began taking advantage of the victim's finances.

Davis had been facing a Class B felony count of the offense, which carries a punishment range of five to 15 years in prison. A Class D count carries up to four years. The Jasper County prosecutor's office also agreed not to oppose probation for the defendant in exchange for his guilty plea.

Circuit Judge David Mouton assessed Davis four years for the crime but suspended execution of the sentence and placed him on probation for five years in accordance with the plea agreement. But the judge also ordered him to pay the victim $9,516.78 in restitution.

A probable-cause affidavit filed in the case states that while living with the victim, Davis convinced him to obtain a title loan of $1,513 on his vehicle at an interest rate of 155 percent and to give Davis the loan money. The defendant also tried to get him to buy him a car, but the sale was declined by the dealer, according to the affidavit. The defendant consequently got the victim to start paying for weekly rentals of vehicles from rental agencies for Davis with his monthly disability checks.

The defendant's sapping of his income led to the victim eventually falling behind on mortgage and utility service payments, the affidavit states. 

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