Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 8, 2012 – A nurses’ assistant in Roanoke, VA, was recently sentenced to 24 years in prison, though she will likely serve a mere fraction of that sentence behind bars.
Ashley Michelle Sweeney was convicted of stealing wedding rings from veterans at Virginia Veterans Care Center, a state nursing home, and pawning them. Sweeney stated that she needed the cash to support her addiction to pain killers she alleges developed after gallbladder surgery several years previous. Case prosecutors stated that Sweeney had an accomplice, another aide at the home, Brittney Heather Cook. Cook was convicted of taking the rings from the victims and passing them on to Sweeney.
“It is a shame that our veterans cannot be treated with simple dignity even in their golden years, when they are vulnerable and need care the most,” noted Tampa veterans attorney David. W. Magann.
While the Assistant Public Defender stated that it should not matter than the victims were veterans, the judge declared that it was egregious to target the most vulnerable of victims, and that society owes a duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
The details of how the rings were taken are not known, as the victims, ages 70s and 80s, are suffering from some level of dementia. Family members noted that there were bruises on the hands of some of the victims, and missing wedding rings, and alerted authorities. The cash value of the rings, according to the pawn shop that purchased them, was a mere $405. The rings have since been recovered.
Sweeney was sentenced on four charges, one for each theft, of receiving stolen property, as well as selling the stolen property, and sentenced to 24 years in prison, with five years to be served. She was also barred from ever working again as a nurse, or nurse assistant.
Magann has been practicing social security law for 14 years and recently completed his 1,400th hearing. Magann is a Marine Corps Veteran who earned his law degree at the University of Miami, and has a criminology degree from the University of South Florida.
David W. Magann, P.A.
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