Donna Lee Darling at her first court appearance in August 2012
  • Donna Lee Darling at her first court appearance in August 2012
  • Image by Bob Weatherston
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Donna Lee Darling, 61, pleaded guilty to the charge of assault on an elder, causing suffering, in San Diego Superior Court today, May 20.

In exchange for the plea, a charge of attempted murder was dropped. Darling could have gotten four years for the felony assault charge; however, she is expected to get 365 days in local custody at her sentencing set for June 18, the judge said.

The 92-year-old victim, Benjamin Farber, testified at a hearing in January of 2013. Farber said his longtime friend came to visit him at his mobile home in Oceanside, and he was resting in bed when she put a pillow over his face “with great force.”

The victim said he took Darling out of his will “since this incident.”

Darling was arrested the same day as the pillow incident — August 16, 2012. She soon posted $100,000 bail and has been at liberty nearly two years.

Darling effectively hid behind her defense attorney, Herb Weston

Darling effectively hid behind her defense attorney, Herb Weston

This morning, on the day set for trial, Darling stepped forward to admit the assault. She stood behind her private defense attorney, Herb Weston, and fidgeted with purple rosary beads while she answered the judge.

After the hearing, prosecutor Ryan Saunders said, “I consulted with the victim before accepting the plea to be sure he would be happy with the result.”

The prosecutor said he was pleased the elderly man “lived to see justice” and that Farber may choose to speak at the sentencing hearing next month.

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Visduh May 20, 2014 @ 5:25 p.m.

Once again the wheels of justice creak into action. Almost two years pass while she's out on bail, and now the DA cops a plea to a lesser charge that carries a year at Las Colinas (which she probably will not serve in full.) Based on the story Eva posted last year, one can only wonder where she got the money to bail herself out of jail, and how she could afford to hire ol' Herb. That is, unless he's doing cases pro bono for 60-year old attempted murderesses. In a year, she'll be free to victimize other elderly men and women and whomever else she can try to rob.


Burwell May 20, 2014 @ 11:19 p.m.

Darling looks like a male pretending to be a female.


Eva Knott May 22, 2014 @ 7:26 a.m.

The tiny Filipina caretaker Marlene, who testified at the preliminary hearing, said she was physically afraid of Donna Darling, and this caused a delay before the incident was reported to authorities.


Javajoe25 May 20, 2014 @ 11:34 p.m.

I guess Darling Donna has no patience. She was in the will and he was 92 yrs old. How long would it have been? Now, she's in the slammer and out of the will. Bad girl and loser to boot.


Visduh May 21, 2014 @ 7:44 p.m.

Yes, she was stupid, but he's still alive and kicking. He could be one of those folks who lives well beyond 100 years, and who consumes all of his assets in the process. I have a big "issue" with the DA letting her off so lightly, when there were two witnesses, and the intent was obvious.


Ken Leighton May 21, 2014 @ 9:05 p.m.

Does Visduh ever NOT comment? I guess it is cool because it adds interest/conflict to the Reader website....but for for the love of this a better outlet for Visduh than Oprah or Jerry Springer or TMZ? Who is Visduh any way?


Visduh May 21, 2014 @ 11:14 p.m.

Seems I'm compelled to put in my few (or many) words, and actually some of the bloggers appreciate what I do. If you look at all the posts on the Reader, you won't find my comments on most of them, probably 'cause they don't interest me. As far as outlets go, I don't know about Oprah (hasn't she retired anyway?) and I have no notion about Jerry Springer, who he is or what he does. TMZ???

Who am I? Several folks would like to know, but I ain't tellin'. (That's what's good about the Reader.)


Eva Knott May 22, 2014 @ 7:21 a.m.

Donna Lee Darling remains at liberty until her sentencing, set for 1:30 the afternoon of June 18, before Judge Carlos Armour in San Diego's North County Superior courthouse.


Javajoe25 May 22, 2014 @ 12:39 a.m.

Visduh is Visduh, and yes, he always comments. Usually very insightful. Usually right on. He's a regular on The Reader's website, as are a few others. The question now is, who is kenl?


Eva Knott June 18, 2014 @ 6:18 p.m.

Donna Lee Darling was taken into custody today, June 18 2014, to begin her 365 days custody. At the last minute, her defense attorney Herb Weston requested that her custody be counted while she got some kind of medical treatment, but prosecutor Ryan Saunders protested and the judge said no. Darling tried to hide behind her attorney during the hearing today, but was exposed as the deputy put her into cuffs and led her away.


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