FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A North Texas man has been sentenced to 10 years' probation for trying to claim squatters' rights on a house using an obscure state law.
A Tarrant County jury deliberated less than two hours Thursday before determining David Cooper's sentence. Jurors also decided the 26-year-old DeSoto man must pay a $10,000 fine.
Cooper could have received a life sentence for the theft charge and 20 years in prison for the burglary charge. He was convicted Wednesday of first-degree felony theft and burglary for illegally occupying a $400,000 Arlington home. Cooper said he relied on a law allowing for "adverse possession" when he filed a claim for $16 on the home and moved in.
The family that owned the home was away because a member was being treated for cancer.