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TRIAL OF COUPLE OVER WOMAN'S HOME UNDER WAY

Joseph and Cynthia Clancy are fighting grand theft charges after taking over the home of Eloise Mudway, who they were taking care of.

Maria Diaz used to bring her children over to visit with Eloise Mudway, an elderly woman she had befriended in 2000. But she said that all changed after Joseph and Cynthia Clancy moved in.

"They told me I couldn't go anymore," Diaz, a former Bank of America teller, testified in court Wednesday.

"Who?" asked Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis.

"Joseph Clancy," Diaz replied.

Joseph and Cynthia Clancy were supposed to provide care and companionship to Mudway, now 92. But prosecutors say the couple cut Mudway off from her friends as they spent her savings and transferred her home on Hilltop Drive into their name.

The Clancys are on trial this week facing charges of grand theft of a person aged 65 or older, and could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Joseph Clancy is 56; Cynthia Clancy is 46.

While prosecutors say Mudway was duped into signing a quitclaim deed transferring her house to the Clancys, the defense argues that Mudway knowingly signed over her home, a 5-acre property that was heading toward foreclosure during the spring of 2004. They say Mudway turned to the Clancys for help refinancing the loan.

Mudway, a widow with no children, was moved to a friend's house in 2004 after the property was signed over to the Clancys. The Clancys still reside in the Hilltop Drive home.

In previous interviews, Mudway also has said the couple fed her nothing but bologna sandwiches and pickle loaf, made her do their laundry and wait on them. She is expected to take the stand before the trial wraps up by early next week.

Jurors on Wednesday heard from 11 witnesses. Some were Joseph Clancy's friends who rode motorcycles with him or stopped by the Hilltop Drive home to have a beer with him. Others were attorneys who spoke to Cynthia Clancy. One was a jewelry appraiser who had spoken to a Pasco deputy about Mudway's property.

One was Eileen Riker, another friend of Mudway's.

Riker testified that she once stopped by the Hilltop Drive home for Mudway's birthday party and saw some "biker types there."

"She (Mudway) said she was giving them (the Clancys) the home, and that they would take over the payments," Riker testified for the defense.

During cross examination, Halkitis asked Riker what she noticed inside Mudway's house after the Clancys moved in.

"I saw living room furniture," Riker said, "and new carpet."

Andrew Gordon, a home builder who talked to the Clancys about selling 2 acres of Mudway's property in 2004, said one of the Clancys spoke ill of the elderly woman.

"Did Joseph Clancy make a discriminating remark about the woman?" asked Halkitis.

"He said she was an 'old b----,'" Gordon said.

His sister Jo Gordon, an attorney, testified that she never saw Mudway but heard the Clancys mention her.

"It seemed like they were taking care of her," she said testified. "Like she wasn't mentally there."

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at cspencer@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4609.

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