NORFOLK (WAVY) – Chesapeake Councilwoman Amanda Newins is on trial for one felony count of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, namely her great uncle Bobby Davis, who had diminished mental capacity. Davis died in March 2021.
Newins is also the defendant in an $890,000 lawsuit brought by her great aunt, Shirley Davis. Newins is a licensed attorney and is listed as the president of the Chesapeake Bar Association.
Because she is a city official, Newins is being tried in Norfolk, a retired judge is presiding, and the Commonwealth is being represented by prosecutors from Roanoke County.
Shirley Davis, 83, testified Tuesday for the commonwealth. She said she signed a power of attorney, a will and a deed of gift that transferred ownership of a home on Kempsville Road in Virginia Beach in the months leading up to her husband’s death.
“I signed them because I trusted Amanda,” Davis said when asked about the documents.
Bobby Davis’ doctor is expected to testify Wednesday about his dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Shirley Davis told the jury how Bobby didn’t recognize her, and thought his own wife was the maid. She also described how he would get lost looking for the bathroom in the home the couple shared for 48 years. The house was worth more than $300,000, and is at the center of the trial.
The notary who certified the signatures of Shirley and Bobby Davis, gifting the house to Newins, said the elderly couple was not present when they signed the document, as is required by law.
The notary, Eileen Ferrara, testified that Newins asked her to notarize it anyway.
Newins’ attorney, Kristin Paulding, got Davis to describe how Newins and her husband helped out the couple, cooking food and taking them to doctor appointments. The Davises were married 58 years.
Amanda Newins will be among the defense witnesses. The trial resumes Wednesday morning.