A Fort Collins woman convicted of befriending a dying Boulder man to try and get into his will was sentenced to five years of probation today in Boulder District Court.
Julianna Rigby, 51, also received 50 hours of community service from Judge John McMullen at her sentencing. Rigby was convicted of attempted theft in August in a retrial after a hung jury led to a mistrial in May.
Prosecutors say Rigby took advantage of retired University of Colorado professor Louis Hall as he was dying of cancer and tried to get herself named as a beneficiary in his will. According to court documents, Hall's home was worth between $400,000 and $450,000, and he had between $520,000 and $570,000 in various bank accounts and investments.
In asking for the five years of probation, Deputy District Attorney Jane Walsh said a pre-sentencing report indicated behavior patterns that made Rigby a risk to possibly repeat.
"Ms. Rigby is quite clearly somebody who exercises control," Walsh said. "She has clearly stated this affinity with the elderly, and with a predisposition to seek control in relationships, that puts other elders at risk."
McMullen, who presided over the retrial, said it also concerned him that he didn't see any remorse or acknowledgement of guilt on Rigby's part in the pre-sentencing report.
"She didn't come close to acknowledging any misconduct," McMullen said. "The nature of the offense was serious and there is a need to protect others from that type of crime."
In asking for a shorter period of probation, Rigby's attorney Jason Cuerdon said Rigby had no criminal history and said her interaction with Hall was a way of making up for her own experience with her father, who he said pushed her away in his last days.
"I think she was trying to find closure with her own father," Cuerdon said. "I never thought this case had anything to do with money."
Rigby also spoke at the sentencing and agreed with a psychological evaluation that indicated she might have some mental health issues and said she sometimes thinks "differently" than other people.
However, McMullen said he was "not impressed" by the evaluation and said he did not believe mental health issues were a large factor in the case.
"The evidence in this case painted a picture of a course of conduct that involved an elaborate scheme over several months to ingratiate herself with Mr. Hall to isolate him from others and manipulate him into leaving his estate to her," McMullen said. "Twelve jurors listened to that evidence and found the same thing. I don't think there is any illusion... about whether her conduct was conscious and involved criminality.
As a condition of her probation, Rigby will be required to find employment and will not be allowed to handle finances for non-relatives.