Family living in warehouse finally vindicated after losing every - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Family living in warehouse finally vindicated after losing everything

Deania and Michael Dodson (Source: WAVE 3 News) Deania and Michael Dodson (Source: WAVE 3 News)

SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Michael Dodson and his family are homeless. They're living in the back of a sweltering warehouse.

“Everything's gone. All our worldly possessions are history,” he said.

They used to live in a Section 8 trailer until April of last year, when when Dodson got into an argument with his neighbor, Michael Barth, a persistent felony offender with a rap sheet including assault, domestic violence, plus burglary and robbery. Dodson said he hit Barth three times with a baseball bat when Barth went after Dodson's wife on the Dodson property.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Man protects wife from attacker; now they're living in a warehouse]

“The cops came and arrested my husband on everybody else's word. Nobody asked us nothing,” said Deania Dodson.

Two days after Dodson was charged with assault, he got a letter saying "you are being terminated from the Section 8 rental assistance program. We must take this action because you have engaged in criminal activity that disturbs the peaceful enjoyment of the premises by others."

The Kentucky Housing Corporation would only respond to WAVE 3 News by email about its decision to cut off housing assistance after an accusation, not a conviction. In an email, KHC said "our policy is to deny applicants or terminate participants who have a drug or violent criminal related charge."

[RELATED: KHC can terminate Section 8 without conviction]

“We utilize information from local news media, newspapers, court dockets or actual criminal background records to determine the nature of the charges prior to making termination decisions.”

So the Dodsons lived out of their vehicle for months until they had to sell it for money. They kept going to court, where they say prosecutors kept offering reduced charges if they would sign a statement saying they wouldn't sue authorities.

“We endured," Michael Dodson said. "It was tough, a lot of people would not endure. That's why they would just accept defeat and take any old plea deal, guilty or innocent."

Thursday, after Dodson's motion for a "speedy trial" - 16 months after being evicted - the judge dismissed the charges. Even Michael Barth said in court he understands how Dodson may have thought he needed to do what he did to protect his property.

Prosecutor Mike Mann didn't want to talk on camera about the ruling. But he said he still believes the charges were justified.

"I feel relieved that this part's over," Dodson said. "Now I feel there are some serious flaws in the system that would throw a family into the street over an accusation."

So after 16 months of sticking to his position, Michael Dodson wins.

Or does he?

He's still living in a warehouse. He's still unemployed. He's going to apply for Section 8 housing assistance again, but he knows they can deny him again.

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