ROCKINGHAM — Ten months after shutting down one property, Resident Superior Court Judge Stephan J. Futrell has declared another East Rockingham residence as a nuisance.
On Nov. 10, Futrell signed a consent judgment against the home at 104 Middle St., which was described as “a problematic residence,” in a press release from the N.C. Department of Public Safety issued Nov. 30.
Property owner and resident Tracy Durant Baker was named as a defendant in the lawsuit, according to the press release, which adds that Baker is permanently barred from “maintaining a nuisance at the Middle Street property or anywhere else in North Carolina.”
Records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction show Baker — whose middle name is spelled “Durante” — was convicted in June on one count each of selling a Schedule II controlled substance, possession with intent to sell a Schedule I controlled substance and possession with intent to sell a Schedule II controlled substance.
Baker was given a 30-month suspended sentence.
GIS records show the county became the property owner on the same day the order was signed.
The property is to be vacated by Dec. 1 and remain vacant, according to the press release. Anyone caught on the property except those named in the judgement can be charged with trespassing.
Baker is subject to being found in contempt of court and facing fines or jail time — or both — for violating the judgment.
The press release states that this was the final step in a civil case brought by the state on behalf of the county.
Chapter 19 of the North Carolina General Statutes defines nuisance properties as those used for prostitution, gambling, possession or sale of controlled substances, illegal alcohol, or obscene or lewd material.
Properties are also considered a nuisance if they constitute a “breach of the peace” through repeated acts.
“For years, people in this community have been negatively impacted due to activities stemming from this property,” said Capt. Mitchell Watson of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. “I sincerely appreciate the cooperation from the defendant, as we worked cohesively and efficiently to solve the ongoing issues and restore peace to this neighborhood.”
The N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement Nuisance Abatement Team assisted the RCSO with the investigation.
“The nuisance abatement law assist(s) in providing a remedy for problem locations that disproportionately demand law enforcement resources and reduce the quality of life for others,” said Scottie Shoaf, assistant special agent in charge of the Nuisance Abatement Team. “Our team enjoyed partnering with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to bring a permanent resolution to this community problem.”
In late February, Futrell entered a similar judgment for a residence on South Street. That property was burned in September as a training exercise for the East Rockingham and Cordova fire departments.