Eight people accused of illegally taking possession of other people’s vacant or abandoned houses have been indicted. All of the defendants were indicted in connection with the abuse of affidavits of adverse possession and are now facing trial on charges of burglary of a habitation and theft.
The grand jury indicted:
Anthony L. Brown, 62, on one count of burglary of a habitation, and one count of theft from $100,000 to $200,000. Because Brown has a prior criminal history, he is facing up to life in prison if convicted;
Jasmine Williams, 22, and David Cooper, 25, were each indicted on one count of burglary of a habitation, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and on one count of theft over $200,0000, a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison;
Andrew James LaTour II, 31, and Alicia Renee LaTour II, 30, were each indicted on one count of burglary of a habitation, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and one count of theft over $200,000, punishable by up to life in prison;
Sandra Selena Latour, 51, Selena Kareen Brown, 29, and Andre Brown, 30, were each indicted on one count of burglary of habitation and one count of theft from $100,000 to $200,000 “” both second degree felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison; and
A ninth so-called “squatter,” Billie V. Henderson, 64, has been charged by the criminal district attorney’s office with misdemeanor criminal mischief on accusations he changed the locks on a house in an effort to try and take possession. Misdemeanor cases are generally not presented to a grand jury.
Tarrant County, Texas, has taken multiple steps to stop this practice and halt the fraudulent use of these documents. On the advice of Criminal District Attorney Joe Shannon, the County Clerk no longer accepts them and local police departments have been advised to work these cases if it appears the law has been violated. Multiple real estate attorneys from the Tarrant County Bar Association are also working, pro bono, to help property owners who have been victimized through no fault of their own.
The cases are being handled by Assistant District Attorneys David Lobingier and Bill Vassar. Because the cases are pending, this office cannot comment on the specifics of any of these cases.