"Squatter" Couple Faces Life in Adverse Possession Case

Couple faces charges of property theft over $200,000

Monday, Nov 12, 2012  |  Updated 4:41 PM CDT
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"Squatter" Couple Faces Life in Adverse Possession Case

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A North Texas couple accused of "squatting" face up to life in prison if convicted of stealing from a home whose owner was in Houston for cancer treatments.

David Cooper and Jasmine Williams each are charged with property theft over $200,000 and burglary of a habitation. Jury selection started Monday afternoon in Fort Worth.

Last year, Cooper paid $16 to file with the county what is known as an affidavit of adverse possession. The obscure Texas law allows people to claim rights to otherwise unclaimed land after a period of time.

Defense attorney Deborah Goodall told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Cooper intended to live in the $405,000 Arlington home and maintain it.

The Tarrant County district attorney has since ordered the county clerk to stop accepting those affidavits.

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