FORT WORTH (November 15, 2012)—David Cooper, 26, of DeSoto was sentenced to 10 years' probation for trying to claim squatters' rights on a house using an obscure state law.
A Tarrant County jury deliberated for less than two hours Thursday before deciding the sentence.
Cooper must also pay a $10,000 fine.
He was convicted Wednesday of first-degree felony theft and burglary for illegally occupying the $400,000 Arlington home.
He could have received a life sentence on the theft charge and 20 years in prison on the burglary charge.
Cooper said he relied on a law allowing for "adverse possession" when he filed a claim for $16 on the home and moved in.
The family that owned the home was away because a member was being treated for cancer.