WIUM Tristates Public Radio

No Jail Time for Keokuk Window Removal

Oct 11, 2014

The members of the group that removed windows from a vacant Keokuk church in August will not be penalized for their actions.

The group has said it removed the windows so they are not damaged when the roof is eventually replaced.  The roof is in such poor condition that water and snow has damaged the building's interior in recent years.

The city argued that the windows should not have been removed because the building had been deemed unsafe to enter.  District Court Judge Michael Schilling agreed in September and ordered the return of the windows.

The city received eight windows several days after a court imposed deadline.

It said there were still windows missing, so it asked Schilling to hold Christopher Dailey in contempt of court.  Dailey is part of the group that is trying to restore the building.

District Court Judge Michael Schilling dismissed the request.  He said in his four-page ruling that the city did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dailey violated a court order to return the windows because some were returned.

Schilling also refused to find Melanie Wells in contempt of court.  She allowed the group to store some of the windows in a home to which she had access.

The windows that had been stored in that home have also been returned to the city.

Schilling said at the end of his ruling that it remains unclear whether all the windows were returned, given the uncertainty about how many were removed and the inconsistent testimony.

A lawsuit surrounding the ownership of the former church is scheduled to go to trial in mid-December.