July 29, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
63°F
test

Trashed property nets jail time for ‘awful’ neighbor

LORAIN — A Lorain man was sentenced to 30 days in jail Wednesday for not cleaning up the exterior of his home and his yard.

Layne

Roger Layne, 51, will serve his sentence, handed down by Lorain Municipal Court Judge Mark Mihok, in the county jail for violating the judge’s order to clean the East 29th Street property.

Layne was cited by the city in October 2006 for several building code violations after a complaint was filed about a middle finger spray painted on the front of the house and several obscene phrases written on his home. In April, Mihok ordered Layne to remove the signs and clean up within a month.

He didn’t.

Neighbors on their porches shook their heads in disgust when asked about living near Layne. But at least for the next month, the man living there, who allegedly drew the gesture, won’t be the annoyance they have grown accustomed to.

“It’s awful living next to him,” said one neighbor, who asked not to be identified because she said Layne was hot-tempered and she feared him. “Everyone has problems with him.”

Besides the writings, Layne’s backyard is filled with trash that neighbors say attracts mice, which scurry into their yards. The building department even has pictures of Layne holding up his middle fingers at them during their investigation.

CARL SULLENBERGER / CHRONICLE
Roger Layne was sentenced to 30 days in jail for not cleaning up his yard on East 29th Street in Lorain.

Neighbors said Layne used to bathe in his boxer shorts in a tub on his front lawn, point spotlights into other people’s windows and yell at other residents. In 1999, one neighbor told police that Layne threw a brick at him and hit him with a stick when he walked by Layne’s house, according to a police report.

“That couple even moved out because of him,” said one woman, pointing at a home directly across the street from Layne’s. “They were such nice people, too.”

Chief Building Inspector William Desvari, who said Layne has been a problem for the city since he purchased the home, said the sentence was the most severe for a building code violation since he started working for the city four years ago.

“I truly thank (the judge) for his support of the Building and Housing Department,” Desvari said.

Records show that Layne purchased the house in 1998, and police were called out to the home several times since for illegal burning, illegal dumping and loud music complaints, but he was never charged.

In his first year living there, Layne was cited for not keeping up with property maintenance, but the case was dismissed when the building inspector did not appear in court to testify.

In 2003, Layne pleaded no contest to several building code violations, including trash in the yard and unkempt shrubs, but his punishment was suspended at that time because he cleaned up the property.

Contact Adam Wright at 653-6257 or awright@chroniclet.com.