Magnolia squatter given slap on the wrist in court
The summer’s saga of the Magnolia squatter — in which a woman selling her Magnolia home suffered from a man stalking her on her property, claiming her house was his — has finally come to an end in court.
Soon after Lisa* put her Magnolia home on the market in late July, she said that a strange man began intruding on her property and in her home, acting like he lived there; setting up tents on her property, sometimes with another man; taking photos of her yard and neighbor’s yards and putting them on social media; introducing himself to neighbors as the new buyer of the house; and attempting to get into their homes by pretending to be an exterminator.
“We didn’t know what this guy was capable of for a long time, and so we were being as vigilant as we could … You don’t know what type of person you’re dealing with,” she said.
Lisa, who has since sold the house, had said at the time that despite living in terror for a week, police did not go after the Magnolia squatter in a timely fashion; it was not until after her story had been featured on the Dori Monson Show multiple times that police finally gave her a response she felt was appropriate to the situation.
“It took going on the show to get any response,” she said.
That said, she remains very grateful for the diligence and attention shown to her case after that by a Seattle Police Department task force.
“They came by the property every single day … I was really pleased with the response that we ended up getting after the show, so a shoutout to SPD,” she said.
While this was going on, Lisa figured out the man’s address and workplace through some sleuthing of her own. She gave this information to police, who initially said that they could not do anything because he lived out of their jurisdiction, but later were able to go to the man’s house and arrest him.
However, the Magnolia squatter spent just “24 hours and 10 minutes” in jail, according to Lisa. She pressed charges — which resulted in a grand total of a protection order, a $25 bail charge, and 30 hours of community service for the man.
“Only 30 hours of community service, Dori, for all that we endured — 30 hours of community service,” Lisa said.
In court, the man revealed to the judge that he has ADA-recognized bipolar disorder and was in a manic episode at the time of the squatting and stalking.
“I empathize with people who are going through difficulties like that,” Lisa said, but “it doesn’t make it okay to terrorize a neighborhood and put everybody through what he did. There have to be consequences, regardless of what’s going on.”
Luckily, the judge did order the man to obtain mental health treatment, which Lisa sincerely hopes will aid him. While she is disappointed that he did not serve a greater sentence for all of the fear and emotional turmoil he caused her, she no longer worries about the effect that this man will have on her life.
“I do think that this person was really sick, and that breaks my heart, but they’re getting away with too much still, and we have to constantly think about our safety in this city … I hope that he’s getting the help that he needs,” she said.
*Last name left out at personal request