CONYERS, Ga. — A 67-year-old Rockdale County woman is about to start her second month in a local county jail after a five-year property dispute with a neighbor. Although it appears the dispute has abated, the woman’s jail stint has no end in sight.
At issue is a 15 foot-wide strip of overgrown grass in a semi-rural area on the north side of Conyers.
“My grandfather lived here,” said Darlene Silvey. She said her family has owned it for 50 years, including the house where her mother lives.
Next door lives Joshua Arnold, who moved in 11 years ago.
“This section of property is lost in my chain of title,” Arnold said, talking about the fifteen-foot strip.
He said he thought he bought it 11 years ago.
“I definitely can’t prove right now that it’s mine,” Arnold said. But he said nobody can prove they own it.Both families agree the dispute has elevated irrationally.
“She’s hit me with a rock before. She’s tried to run me over with a lawn mower,” Arnold said of his neighbor.
“And she said he held up a weed eater like he wanted to cut her face up,” Silvey said of Arnold and his mother.
“I’ve been harassed. I’ve been stalked. I’ve been violated,” Arnold said.
Last month, Arnold called a sheriff’s deputy to the property. The deputy locked up 67-year-old Dorothy Davis for aggravated stalking – violating a restraining order taken out by Arnold, as they argued over who should be cutting which plot of grass alongside the 15-foot strip.
“She was upset and got too close to him,” Silvey said.
A police report said Davis lunged at Arnold repeatedly during the encounter and was unable to talk rationally to the responding deputy. Silvey said Davis has no criminal record.
Davis has been in jail for a month. This week, Superior Court Judge Robert Mumford refused a request to let Davis post bond.
What’s tragic, Silvey said, is that the property dispute is essentially over. A new property survey shows that the disputed property, in fact, belongs to the jailed woman.
“She was right all along. This is her property. She should never have been in this position. Anybody would be angry,” Silvey said. “And now she’s in jail. And it’s just not right.”
Silvey said her mother’s health is poor and getting worse in jail. Arnold said he’s happy to concede the 15-foot strip of land to Davis.
“If the experts say that’s where it is, that’s where it is. I’m fine,” Arnold said.
Asked what he thought about her neighbor spending the last month in jail, Arnold said “I don’t really have any feelings about it. It was nothing that I did wrong.”
Arnold, who is 38 and 29 her junior, said he is afraid of the jailed woman.