Two gay men have won the second-largest court award in Stevens County history for three years of vicious harassment by their neighbors.
Superior Court Judge Larry Kristianson ordered Roger and Darlene Hayward to pay $400,000 for a terror campaign they conducted against Boyd Hunter and Forrest Campman.
“We won our case, and we’re real happy about it,” Hunter said. “The pressure is off.”
The Haywards, who moved away in January, could not be reached for comment.
Hunter, 47, and Campman, 48, had lived peacefully on an isolated mountaintop near Springdale, Wash., for 15 years until the Haywards moved next door in August 1991. The Haywards lived in a broken-down singlewide mobile home without a septic system and kept 24 wolf-dogs.
The Haywards registered their home as a non-profit corporation called the Key Largo Hybrid Wolf Sanctuary. Darlene Hayward claimed to be doing research on the animals.
Campman and Hunter said the Haywards responded with vandalism and death threats after they complained that their shallow well was being contaminated with human and animal feces from the Haywards’ squalid camp.
The Haywards and friends of theirs used citizens’ band radio transmissions to taunt Hunter and Campman. The victims recorded numerous death threats over the air.
In one transmission, what sounds like Darlene Hayward’s distinctive voice said, “If that’s Tom out there, I don’t know but he’s going to have to blow up their house sooner than he planned.”
A man who identified himself as Tom Ward repeatedly made death threats against Hunter and Campman and tried to goad them into a response.
“It won’t take but a couple of seconds to take care of you little queers,” he said on one occasion, adding that authorities would never find their bodies.
Roger Hayward said in an interview last spring that he also “called them queers and some such, which I shouldn’t have, but a fellow can only take so much.” He and his wife claimed they were the real harassment victims.
Hunter and Campman said they filed the lawsuit against the Haywards after they were unable to get help from the Stevens County Sheriff’s Department, the prosecutor’s office or the Northeast Tri-County Health District. They believe authorities ignored them because they are homosexual.
Kristianson entered a default judgment Monday against the Haywards after they failed to appear in court.
The plaintiffs’ Spokane attorney, Dennis Cronin, said the Haywards sent a letter stating that they now live in Nevada and it would be a hardship to attend the trial.
The biggest judgement in county history was the $1.9 million a jury awarded last month to a man who was mangled in an industrial explosion.
Cronin said he was surprised by the size of the award in the harassment case, even though his clients asked for $1 million.
“I thought Judge Larry Kristianson was courageous and he stood up and made a statement … that the judiciary in Stevens County is not going to stand for such things,” Cronin said.
Campman and Hunter have no hope of collecting the full $400,000 from the impoverished Haywards, but they may be able to seize the 19 acres of land the couple abandoned.
The Haywards claimed variously to have transferred the property to the Spokane Tribe of Indians and to a friend of theirs, but county assessor’s records show the land is still owned by the Haywards’ Key Largo organization.
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