Written by David Greenwald Thursday, 17 January 2013 06:25
However, in addition to several people posting contrasting information on the Vanguard, we received an account from one neighbor who had a very different view, believing that the article "badly missed the mark."
That neighbor was subpoenaed to testify in one of the cases. It was postponed a number of times before the settlement was reached.
The neighbor told the Vanguard, "I wasn't disappointed because the retaliation factor was lingering in my mind, though I was prepared to speak honestly about the activities I had regularly witnessed at the house."
The neighbor noted observing drug dealing in the alley between Spruce and Cypress, though they were not sure what was being sold. They observed marijuana being smoked in the front and side yard on a regular basis.
They also believed there was "drug dealing at the house due to frequent, unfamiliar vehicles driving down the street, stopping in front of the house, waiting, and then leaving 15 minutes later. People of all different ages, ethnic compositions, socioeconomic status, vehicles, that would not be consistent with a core group of friends."
"There were too many of them," they continued. "Unfamiliar people waiting in front of the house, and then leaving shortly thereafter. The only reason for this activity to occur would be a day-care facility or private music teacher, etc., but they become familiar people in the neighborhood."
The neighbor said, "There was way too much drug-related activity going on for the mother to have not known. Whether she was able to control the activities of her children is not known."
Kelle Huston had told the Vanguard that, as a single mother, she had a night shift, which she believed was part of the problem, and acknowledged that the children lacked supervision. She felt that a lot of these problems ceased once she got a job with more traditional work hours.
The neighbor's view was, "Given the child was a minor, she is ultimately accountable for what goes on at the house. At some point, there was a younger daughter who was being exposed to the drugs and marijuana."
The neighbor added, "I don't particularly care about smoking marijuana at home. I just don't think a residential neighborhood is an appropriate location for a dispensary."
The neighbor was most concerned with bullying and intimidation at the house, "which the males were known for."
The neighbor said, "On several occasions while I was riding my bicycle home from work, they would stand in the middle of the street and stare me down. I don't remember the exact circumstances, but there were physical altercations."
They said, referring to the alleged fight in 2009 that Abhi Huston witnessed, "I don't think it was as innocent as 'fighting over a bike.' Nobody has ever initiated any conflict with them, it was always initiated by the Huston household."
They added, "They were known for intimidating children riding their bikes to Drexel. They would block the street and refuse to move to the side to allow cars to pass. On many occasions they spray painted law enforcement epithets on the sidewalk ('F the police;' 'Fn Pigs'), shattered beer bottles in the street and sidewalk, etc."
The neighbor said, "It was absolutely necessary for the police to get involved. The neighborhood has been much more tranquil in the last two years and I haven't noticed any obvious drug activity."
"The mother is not a victim. It is true she could not control her children. I suppose it's a fine line between not having control and enabling. Some neighbors had talked with her about that. I believe one neighbor even offered to take down her fence for her so her children couldn't use it to disguise their activities. She didn't take him up on it. But she knew, and she was ultimately responsible," they continued.
The neighbor concluded, "Whether the children were 'gang' members, I don't know."
Vanguard's View: There are usually two sides to every story. The story that we have heard from the neighbors seems relatively consistent. It seems clear, and it is clear from the court record that there was drug dealing that occurred at this home and around it.
Our biggest concern in this story was that the two main cases appeared to be overcharged. The district attorney attempted to turn a one-ounce marijuana sale into a 13-year prison sentences by adding gang enhancements. Likewise, they attempted to charge one of Ms. Huston's sons with 10 felonies and 5 gang enhancements.
In the end, the DA could not sustain either of those charges and greatly reduced both of them. It would appear that the fact that the family moved on was probably in the best interest of all that were involved.
---David M. Greenwald reporting
The other part of the problem, David, is that you almost always appear to take at face value what the "bad guys" say, without examining their underlying motivations.
That being said, thank you very much for reaching out to the neighbors to get a valuable alternative (and closer to reality) point of view, a valuable counterpoint to the usual "we didn't do anything wrong and the police are harassing us for no reason" crap. Having this family move out of Davis was indeed best for everyone involved.