A former senior care worker who exploited an elderly dementia patient she later married was sentenced by a district judge on Friday to 40 years in prison.

In December, a Victoria County jury found Joanie Martinez Cosper, 41, guilty of misapplication of fiduciary property of an elderly individual and exploitation of an elderly individual.

In an agreement between prosecutors and Cosper’s defense attorney, District Judge Kemper Stephen Williams assessed the punishment in lieu of a jury. He issued 40- and 25-year sentences for the charges, respectively, which Cosper will serve concurrently.

The misapplication charge carried a potential sentence of 15-99 years or life in prison — a range enhanced by prior convictions, and 20 years was the maximum sentence for the exploitation charge, according to a Victoria County District Attorney office news release.

Joanie Martinez Cosper, who has also used the last names of Quintanilla and Rodriguez, married Myrl Cosper, 88, in November 2020. The marriage came 16 days after his wife of 64 years, Norma Jean Cosper, died of natural causes, according to previous Advocate coverage.

After she was hired by a home health caretaker for the Cospers, Joanie Cosper misappropriated over $100,000 from Myrl Cosper’s bank accounts, bought a car using his funds and attempted to liquidate a separate investment account.

She also obtained a deed for the Cospers’ home in Inez, which was assessed at a value of more than $330,000, according to Victoria County Appraisal District records.

Joanie Cosper will remain on parole until 2028 due to a 2004 conviction for unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, for which she was sentenced to 25 years in prison, according to the news release.

Cosper, who was on parole, will serve the remainder of her 25-year sentence concurrently with the new sentences.

Assistant district attorneys Jordan Fries and Zachary A. Miles prosecuted the case.

Cosper was represented by defense attorney William Patterson, of Pasadena.

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Chase covers breaking news, crime and courts for the Advocate. He can be reached at 361-574-1286, crogers@vicad.com or at @chasedrogers.

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Breaking News & Public Safety Reporter

Chase writes about crime and courts for the Victoria Advocate. He grew up in the Dallas–Fort Worth area before attending Texas State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication and journalism.

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