A courtroom and a seat at the defense table won't be anything new for James Lester Culp II when his trial begins April 29.
He's been in this position before facing the same charges and several others.
The former Hannibal resident and businessman is charged with the Class B felony of financial exploitation of the elderly in Warren County. He has plead not guilty and faces a two-day trial scheduled before Judge Wes Dalton at the Warren County Courthouse in Warrenton beginning at 9 a.m. Monday. Culp is represented by Patrick Coyne of Lake St. Louis.
According to court records, Culp told Henry Schulze he would lay asphalt on Schulze's driveway for free on Dec. 30, 2010. Six men Schulze and his wife, Betty, had never seen showed up to lay the asphalt, per the probable cause statement, but since the asphalt was free the couple told the men to go ahead with job since it was free.
Records go on to state the workers got halfway done when one of the men asked for $10,000. The Schulzes agreed on $8,000 and wrote a personal check. The men said they'd be back later to finish, but once the check was in hand, the men loaded their equipment and left. The next morning, the Schulzes called police and identified Culp through a group of pictures as the man who offered the free asphalt.
Culp, 32, has a criminal history dating back to 1998 during his time living in Hannibal.
In 1999, Culp was arrested and charged with burglary, but he plead guilty and got three years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, yet was placed on five years probation. He was ordered to $775 in restitution and $46 in judgement and court costs. However, in 2001 while on probation he was charged with burglary again. The court found Culp in violation of two probation conditions, revoked his probation and sentenced him to three years in the prison per his 1999 sentence.
Financial exploitation charges first came up in 2005 when a woman said Culp offered to clean her gutters, but instead cheated her out of $50.
Charges emerged out of Newberry County, South Carolina in 2008. Culp's company, Asphalt Products, was investigated for scamming customers and he along with other Hannibal men were arrested in St. Phillips, South Carolina. Culp, who was charged with soliciting a business without a license, reportedly promised to put a three-inch bed of tar on a driveway and demanded immediate pay when the job was done.
Dog fighting charges were filed in 2011. Trial was set and good to go, but Culp turned around and plead guilty to the charges. He again got three years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, but was given five years of supervised probation this time, a $3,000 fine, 48 hours of shock time in jail and ordered to not possess any dogs.
Page 2 of 2 - Other offenses include a seat belt violation and minor in possession of alcohol in 1998 and running a stop sign in 2000.