COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A man living in a home built for his daughter after she survived one of the region's most horrific crimes has been ordered to move out.
A northern Idaho judge on Thursday ruled Steve Groene is an unlawful tenant in the Coeur d'Alene house owned by a charitable trust set up to benefit his daughter.
Shasta Groene and her family were victimized by child molester and serial killer Joseph Duncan III in 2005. Her mother and her mother's boyfriend were killed as was an older brother. Duncan took the younger children, then 8-year-old Shasta and another brother, 9-year-old Dylan, to a primitive campsite in Montana for seven weeks. Dylan was killed there.
He was convicted of multiple crimes and is now on death row.
A home was built for Shasta with donations from community members, but the now-21-year-old has since moved near Boise. The charity wants to sell the house to continue providing her with financial support.
But Steve Groene has continued to live there, and asked a court for ownership of the property.
"There is an implied contract ... which provided me, together with Shasta, an equal equitable interest in the home built for us," he told the court. But Judge Richard Christensen rejected that argument.
Steve Groene, 60, was a blues-rock singer until throat cancer brought multiple rounds of radiation, chemotherapy and surgeries and left him without vocal cords. He says he now lives on disability payments of less than $1,000 a month. He was served with an eviction notice last summer.
"They are going to basically make me homeless," said Steve Groene, who has called the charity "wolves in sheep's clothing."
The Shasta Groene Charitable Trust managers say their obligation is to Shasta, not her father. She is supposed to assume ownership of the house when the trust expires on her 25th birthday, unless the house is sold before then.
Attorneys for the trust say it owns the house, not Shasta.