By: Paul Bass & Thomas MacMillan | Jul 1, 2011 2:10 pm
ďIím not a criminal,Ē a tearful 78-year-old retired schoolteacher said in court Friday while awaiting arraignment on 28 counts of code violations at a Newhallville property she owns.
Meanwhile, her niece lay in a hospital bed recovering from a fall from the propertyís second-floor porch. And a prominent local developer who also happened to be in court stepped forward with an offer to finish fixing the property for free.
Those are the latest developments in a case that, in addition to its elements of personal drama, raises a still-unanswered question: How did the matter get to this point if authorities started trying to address it 18 months ago?
City housing inspectors and police have been after Joanne Keyes to fix up a house she owns at 94 Shepard St. since November of 2009. They even succeeded in having a warrant signed by a judge this March.
But by June 20, the warrant still hadnít been served. The houseís second-floor porch remained in disrepair. And a 59-year-old woman who lives there fell 20 feet to the ground when the porch gave way.
The police then served the warrant that day and arrested Keyes, who lives elsewhere in the Newhallville neighborhood, on numerous counts of failing to keep up her property.
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE