Robert S. Daniel, the former pastor of First Free Will Baptist Church in Thomaston, pled guilty to exploitation of an elderly person in Upson Superior Court Tuesday and was sentenced by Judge Stephen Boswell to 15 years in prison, with three to serve, followed by 12 years probation and must pay restitution of $30,866.72.
Daniel was arrested in May of 2013 and charged with burglary, theft by taking and exploitation of an elderly person for deceiving a 77-year-old female victim of his congregation into giving him more than $30,000 through personal checks over a 30-day period of time. He was also accused of entering the victim’s home and stealing personal documents and other items. Daniel’s wife, Renee M. Daniel was also arrested last year and charged with being a party to a crime of burglary; however those charges have since been dropped.
Assistant District Attorney Ben Coker stated the victim has since passed away and Daniel’s charges of burglary and theft were dismissed as part of the plea.
“Given the circumstances, I am satisfied with the outcome,” said Coker. “The police department did an excellent job with the investigation and we felt given his lack of criminal history, the plea was a fair deal.”
Daniel, who has been in the Upson County Jail since his arrest last year, will be transferred to the state prison in Jackson.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1