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Court testimony in elder abuse case gives details of missing money, broken hip

Union Leader Correspondent

July 25. 2012 9:53PM
Darin Brown appears for a probable cause hearing in 3rd Circuit District Court in Ossipee Wednesday. He and his wife are charged with abusing his elderly mother. (COURTESY OF CONWAY DAILY SUN)

OSSIPEE - Felony criminal neglect and criminal restraint charges brought against the son of an 80-year-old woman found in his home with a broken hip will head to the county grand jury after a judge determined probable cause exists.

Darin J. Brown, 43, of West Ossipee, and his wife, Sharon Giordano, 38, both appeared before Judge Robert Varney in 3rd Circuit District Court Wednesday, but there was only time for Brown's probable cause hearing.

The two are charged with taking Darin Brown's 80-year-old mother from Stoneham, Mass., to Giordano's house in West Ossipee and failing to provide her with medical attention after she slipped on the basement steps and fractured her hip.

Doctors determined Brown was also dehydrated and had suffered internal bleeding that required her to have blood transfusions prior to surgery. According to testimony in court, she had fallen two days before police found her at the house.

'She was in fairly rough medical shape - she was dangerously ill,' said one witness, Attorney Diane McGarvey, was appointed to act on Joan Brown's behalf in the Middlesex County Court in Massachusetts.

Brown told McGarvey she fell down the steps when she went down to the basement to smoke a cigarette. Her son had carried her upstairs, but the couple didn't take her to the doctor.

'Mrs. Giordano kept saying 'You're fine,' and kept massaging the hip and saying she would be OK ... neither one of them responded to her request [for medical attention,]' McGarvey said.

Darin's twin brother, Daryl Brown, attended the hearing but did not testify.

$600,000 transferred

Carroll County Assistant Attorney Stephen Murray called two other witnesses Wednesday, including private investigator James Pero and Ossipee Detective Sgt. Robert King.

McGarvey said a complaint had been filed in Middlesex County Probate Court and an investigation was launched into the potential financial exploitation of Joan Brown.

'There was a concern Miss Brown was being exploited financially and possibly otherwise,' she said, adding that Sharon Giordano and Darin Brown were impeding the investigation by not allowing contact with the elder Brown.

'Suddenly she disappeared from her Stoneham home and could not be located,' she said. She said in the course of the investigation, it was apparent that funds were transferred from Mrs. Brown's account and that attorneys were attempting to recover up to $600,000.

'It was felt that transfer was done fraudulently,' McGarvey said.

Joan Brown is recuperating from hip surgery at Huggins Hospital.

McGarvey said she spoke with her for four hours recently about recent events. She told McGarvey that since March 21, her son and daughter-in-law had been moving her around to various homes - to Wakefield, Mass., to a trailer in Ossipee, then to a home in West Ossipee on Fox Run Road that Giordano owns with her ex-husband.

Private detective hired

Defense attorney Eric Wolpin, in follow-up questioning, ascertained that there was no evidence that the elder Brown had been threatened, assaulted or restrained, and that she had access to a telephone, and no sign of external injuries.

McGarvey said Joan Brown indicated that the fall was an accident due to her missing a step.

In other testimony, private investigator James Pero said he launched a search on behalf of the family when Mrs. Brown failed to appear for court hearings.

When he searched her Stoneham, Mass., home, he found that her medications, hearing aid and clothing had been left behind. Following leads from neighbors and available court documents, he located the West Ossipee home and another in Wakefield, Mass. Pero said he searched the exterior of the West Ossipee home and found Giordano's black SUV, which Joan Brown was last seen in.

Pero also discovered that she had missed a recent doctor's appointment and that her prescriptions were last picked up in Rochester, N.H., in late March.

Police force entry

Testimony concluded with Detective Sgt. King describing how police forced entry into the Fox Run Road home after repeated attempts to get the couple's attention. Giordano was found hiding in a crawl space and Darin Brown was arrested when he tried to flee.

Attorney John Clothier of Center Harbor, representing Giordano, agreed to schedule his client's probable cause hearing in coming weeks.

A bail hearing in the Darin Brown case is scheduled for today.

Both defendants are being held on $50,000 cash or $100,000 corporate surety bail in Carroll County Jail

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Larissa Mulkern may be reached at

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