ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Denny Gentry was a friend of Blair and Casey Darnell’s long before he bought the property next door in 2001. Both families were well-known in the horse world. The Darnells were known for breeding championship horses; Gentry is the founder of the World Series of Team Roping. After Casey died in August 2001, the Gentrys made it a point to keep an eye on Blair and be there should she need help.
In early 2010, as Gentry drove past the Darnell property one day he noticed something he thought was suspicious. Outside the Blair home, there was a security guard and a man who identified himself as Darryl Millet, a court-appointed lawyer.
“He asked what I wanted so I explained I was a longtime neighbor and (was) checking on Blair,” Gentry told the Journal. “He informed me that he was now in charge and I had one minute to get off the property or he would call the law.”
Millet did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
Gentry had nothing good to say about watching Blair’s plight under the guardian/conservatorship system. She was then in her late 70s, and the process made her life “a living hell,” he said. He recalled days when Blair would take walks over to his home just so she could have a few minutes of freedom away from her court-ordered caretakers.
Gentry and his wife, Connie, watched in sorrow, he said, as bit by bit the Darnell horses and equipment were sold off by conservator Millet.
“The image I will always have in my mind,” Gentry said, “is Millet with his hand on the lever, loading up her worn-out old car onto a trailer, pushing Blair away with his other hand as she was kicking him in the shins.”
Truth is, the feisty cowgirl, Blair, hadn’t driven her old Jeep in a while, but Gentry said it had to have been a symbol of mobility and freedom to her and watching it being towed away to be sold was heartbreaking.