Gwinnett SWAT Team Evicts Couple From Foreclosed Home

9:29 PM, Aug 11, 2010   |    comments
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  • Howard Graber
  • Howard Graber's wheelchair left behind after eviction.
    

GWINNETT COUNTY, GA - "It is sad, I mean we are seeing a lot more evictions. It is sad for their families," says Gwinnett County Sheriff Department spokesperson Stacey Bourbonnais.

Even sadder is that a SWAT team was called to make a Duluth couple leave their home after they fell on hard times.

It began around 8 Wednesday morning when a deputy showed up with an eviction writ at a home on Davenport Park Lane off Old Norcross Road.

The SWAT team arrived and next door neighbors had to evacuate when the couple refused to leave.

"We have to leave 'cause he might start shooting through windows or something like that," next door neighbor Napolean Etienne says deputies told him.

Friends and neighbors say Howard Graber suffered a stroke last fall.

Unable to work and with no health insurance, he fell behind on his mortgage until he received an eviction notice in June.

Friends say Graber, who was still in bad health, had filed his own court paperwork trying to get a jury trial to save his home.

"They asked in the interest of mercy to not turn them out today and let them file due process pleadings in the proper courts," friend Lateef Bey told 11 Alive News.

After 5 hours, the standoff ended peacefully and deputies found no weapons in the home.

They arrested Graber and his wife, Novalee, charging both with misdemeanor obstruction.

"If you're in that position, the best thing to do is go ahead and make other arrangements because the Sheriff's Department has to issue the court order," says Gwinnett Sheriff's spokesman Bourbonnais.

"I think that this is paper terrorism on the part of the attorneys and the band that's doing this," said family friend Bey.

As the SWAT team put up their gear, the Grabers' friends were trying to raise money to bail them out of jail.

 

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