A man accused of holding an 81-year-old Marine Corps veteran hostage in a Hudson Valley motel for at least four years in order to steal his benefits has pleaded guilty.
The Times Herald-Record of Middletown, New York, reports that 43-year-old Perry Coniglio entered the plea Thursday to endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person.
In July, authorities arrested Coniglio in his room adjoining the room of David McLellan at a motel in Highlands, New York. Coniglio was accused of using brute force and intimidation to get McLellan to cooperate with him.
Prosecutors say Coniglio prepared the veteran’s meals, gave him clothes, cleaned him, trimmed his hair and drove him to the bank to withdraw money several times a month. But authorities say Coniglio also used McLellan’s money to pay for his own rent.
After Coniglio was arrested and the story made national news, veterans’ groups have been offering assistance to McLellan.