David Cooper, Guy Who Tried to Take Arlington Home Through Adverse Possession, Gets 90 Days in Jail
If you direct your browser to 16dollarhouse.com and plunk down $9.97 for an e-book, you can still learn from Ken Robinson ( "poised, measured, insightful and wise" and an AMERICAN, all caps, as the site informs you) how to use adverse possession, a once obscure Texas law, to get a house on the cheap.
WFAA David Cooper, at the Arlington home he was convicted of squatting in.
- The Man With the $16 House
Be forewarned that Robinson's legal theories haven't worked out so well in practice. Earlier this year, he was evicted from his $350,000 Flower Mound McMansion after a judge decided that his claim to the house was bullshit. His disciples have fared little better.
Following news of Robinson's scheme, officials in Tarrant County made the rounds evicting squatters who moved into homes after filing adverse possession claims. Eight of them were charged with theft or burglary.
David Cooper was the first to go to trial, which wrapped up today. First, though, we'll revisit his legal justification for taking the house, as told to WFAA.
"After I looked up the Texas law and found out it was legal, then I found out there are ways I can do it," Cooper said, going on to school the Tarrant County district attorney in the finer points of adverse possession. "You got to go with the law ... Texas law. This house was abandoned."
But Texas law also says you can't steal people's stuff and, in Cooper's case, the house actually wasn't abandoned. It belonged to a couple who were spending a lot of time in Houston, where the wife was undergoing cancer treatment. When it became clear that the home wasn't abandoned, Cooper was arrested and charged with burglary and theft.
He was convicted yesterday and faced a possible life sentence. Instead, he got 90 days in jail, 10 years probation and a $10,000 fine.. He doesn't get to keep the house, but he will have to live in Tarrant County.