NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Charged with one felony count of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, Chesapeake Councilwoman Amanda Newins testified in her trial Wednesday.
The Commonwealth contends that Newins had her great uncle and aunt, Bobby and Shirley Davis, sign documents turning over their Virginia Beach home to her, at a time when Bobby Davis had diminished mental capacity.
Newins described how her father had left the family early in her life, and her relationship with her mother Debbie Gregory had always been strained, to the point where she got “kicked out of my wedding.” That left the Davises’ to attend her school events and soccer games, and she “loved them more than anyone on this earth.”
Newins said she lived with her great aunt and uncle on Kempsville Road while she attended law school at Regent University. She had already been a practicing attorney for four years when in late 2020, she suggested Bobby and Shirley Davis have her inherit their home if both died.
Newins and her husband Brandon had the Davises sign a will, power of attorney and eventually a deed of gift in the months leading up to Bobby’s death in April 2021.
His neurologist, Dr. Cathy Cao of Virginia Beach Neurology, testified that he was showing signs of severe dementia two months before the deed was signed. She diagnosed Davis with Alzheimer’s disease and severe dementia when he failed on repeated visits to be aware of his surroundings, know the day or date, or recognize family members.
Newins’ husband was the first defense witness, and he described how the couple would take care of the Davises with meals, transportation, trips to doctors and home repairs.
Brandon Newins said he was in the room during the neurologist visits, but could not recall Bobby Davis’ failure to answer simple cognitive questions.
Brandon Newins said he was doing major repairs on the Davises’ home on Kempsville Road because it had become unlivable.
Amanda Newins testified that her 82-year-old uncle knew what was going on when he signed the deed of gift in February 2021, two months before he died.
Even though her husband attended the evaluation with the neurologist, Newins testified that she was unaware of any dementia and Alzheimer’s diagnosis until after the deed was executed, giving her the $300,000 home.
Since then, the home has been transferred twice more, first to both Amanda and Brandon Newins, and then into a limited liability company they own.
Now repaired, the home on Kempsville Road now rents for $2,200 a month, with none of that revenue going to Shirley Davis, according to Brandon Newins’ testimony on cross examination. He said he did not know the home’s current value.
Newins mentioned how she and her husband put off trying to have children because the Davises were their priority.
Newins’ attorney, Kristin Paulding, and prosecutor Bill Braxton will make their closing arguments Thursday morning.
Braxton is an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Roanoke County, while retired Judge Charles Poston is hearing the case, and the venue is in Norfolk — all because Newins is a Chesapeake city official.