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ELDERLY VICTIM TAKES STAND

A 92-year-old woman gives emotional testimony about transferring over the deed to her home.

The prosecutor handed Eloise Mudway the quit claim deed with her signature transferring her home to someone else. Sitting in her wheelchair, Mudway looked at the paper and fought back the tears.

"Do you remember Cyndy Clancy taking you to Wachovia Bank?" asked Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis.

"A piece of paper was put in front of me," replied the 92-year-old woman, whose voice cracked as she blotted her eyes with tissue, "and old dumb me signed it and didn't have a house anymore."

Mudway's emotional testimony came Thursday afternoon during the fourth day of the trial of Joseph and Cynthia Clancy.

The couple moved into Mudway's Hilltop Drive home in 2001 to provide her care and companionship. But Halkitis argued that the couple didn't allow Mudway's friends to see her, spent her savings, made her pay $1,000 rent per month in her own home, and eventually transferred ownership of her home to them.

The Clancys face charges of grand theft of a person 65 or older and could face up to 30 years in jail if convicted.

Joseph Clancy is 56, and Cynthia Clancy is 46.

The defense argues that Mudway knowingly signed over her home, a 5-acre homestead worth $370,000 when the property was heading toward foreclosure in the spring of 2004. They say the elderly woman asked the Clancys to help her refinance the home.

Mudway had a heart attack in December 2004 and was moved to the home of friend Jeff Kores. The property was signed over to the Clancys, who still live at the Hilltop Drive home.

Why did she move?

On Thursday, Mudway, a widow with no children, was asked by defense attorney Dean Livermore, who represents Cynthia Clancy, the circumstances of her move to the Kores' home.

"Did Cyndy tell you that your stay at the Kores' was going to be brief?" Livermore asked.

"She took me down Hilltop Drive and said, 'We can't take care of you anymore,' " recalled Mudway, silver-haired and wearing black headphones to hear clearer. " 'You'll probably be mad at me. I sold your clothes and shoes.' "

"Did she tell you it was supposed to be brief?" Livermore asked.

"No, she did not," Mudway replied.

Mudway told Halkitis that she had taken in boarders for years, and had family who lived with her and died. By the time the couple arrived, she was alone.

At first, she enjoyed having the Clancys around. She and Cynthia even dressed alike.

"What changed?" Halkitis asked.

"I had a feeling something wasn't right, like they didn't care about me," she said.

"Do you remember deeding your home over to Cynthia Clancy? Did you give her your home?" Halkitis asked.

"No. At one time, we were getting along nicely, and I thought it would be nice to reciprocate and give them my home," she said, noting she planned to give it to them when she died. But she said she didn't want to be removed from her own home.

Throughout her 21/2 hours of testimony Thursday, Mudway spoke of life with the Clancys. Once, she said, she let Joseph Clancy borrow a diamond ring that belonged to her deceased husband, but says she didn't get it back.

Another time, Mudway said a boarder who lived with her died and left her $30,000.

Mudway told Halkitis that she was sick at the time, but eventually planned to take the money to the bank. One day, when Cynthia Clancy's parents were at the Hilltop Drive home, Mudway asked Cynthia Clancy's father to count the money for her.

"I told Cyndy to put it away, and I never saw it again," said Mudway, tears welling in her eyes as she reached for a tissue.

But not every piece of testimony from Mudway was solemn.

Livermore asked Mudway if she remembered a conversation with a friend of Joseph Clancy's known as "Crazy Mike."

"He asked me to go out to dinner with him," Mudway said.

"You didn't go?" asked Livermore.

"No. He wasn't clean," Mudway said to a scattering of chuckles in the courtroom.

After her testimony, Mudway was wheeled out of the courtroom by a victim's advocate.

With another tissue, Cynthia Clancy dabbed her eyes.

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

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