Police reports state that on April 17, 2013, “Officers were called to a fight at the Dodson home involving a bat. Witnesses stated Michael Dodson struck the victim, Michael Barth, several times with a baseball bat.”
The man Dodson hit, Michael Barth, has been ruled a persistent felony offender and found guilty of assault, domestic violence, plus burglary and robbery twice. Dodson said Barth was trying to assault his family that day, too. Barth's girlfriend at the time, who was there, said Barth went on Dodson's property to confront him about an ongoing argument.
"I told him three more times, as I was backing up, to get out of my yard," said Michael Dodson. "[Barth] even asked me, 'Are you gonna hit me with that bat?' I said, 'If I have to. Get out of my yard.'"
Dodson said Barth went around him and went after his wife deeper on Dodson's property, so he hit Barth three times to protect her.
“The cops came and arrested my husband on everybody else's word," said Deania Dodson. "Nobody asked us nothing."
“They just turned around and said, 'Lock him up.' No questions asked on our part or anything,” said Michael Dodson. “Still haven't asked our version after this long."
Neither has the Kentucky Housing Corporation. Two days after Dodson was charged with assault, he received a letter that read, "You are being terminated from the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program... We must take this action because...you have engaged in... criminal activity that disturbs the peaceful enjoyment of the premises by others."
Since they were not convicted of anything, the Dodsons tried to appeal.
“I called HUD on the appeal process," said Deania Dodson. "I called her the next day and she said, 'We appealed it. You don't get your housing back.’”
The Dodsons lived out of their vehicle for months before they had to sell it for money. Fourteen months later, they're living in a warehouse with no resolution to the case. Dodson says prosecutors keep coming to him,offering reduced charges if he'll just sign a statement saying he won't sue authorities. At Dodson's most recent court date, the case was moved again. I tried to talk to the prosecutor. He refused comment on anything.
“It's ridiculous that they're keeping my whole family sleeping in the dirt,” said Michael Dodson.
So why does the Kentucky Housing Corporation pull housing assistance after an accusation, not a conviction? They refused several requests to talk face-to-face about Dodson's case or their policies. Charla Jackson Peter with the Kentucky Housing Corporation responded in an email, "Our policy is to deny applicants or terminate participants who have a drug or violent criminal-related charge. We utilize information from local news media, newspapers, court dockets and/or actual criminal background records to determine the nature of the charges prior to making termination decisions."
Michael Barth, who is back in jail again on another assault charge that happened after this incident, is against what's happening to the Dodsons, saying to an investigator, "Tell the prosecutor that I will not testify in their favor under no circumstances."
“They treat us like criminals," said Deania Dodson. "We're not the criminals. We were in our yard. [Barth] came in our yard. We just defended myself and our family. Just been ridiculous."
From jail, Michael Barth refused a request to be interviewed for this report.
As for not getting Michael Dodson's side of the story before arresting him, Shepherdsville Police Sgt.Mike O'Donnell said that doesn't always happen. He said you have the right to defend yourself on your property and elsewhere, but he stands by the findings of their investigation. Fourteen months later, Dodson is asking for a “speedy trial.”
WAVE 3 News wondered how big of an issue this is, so we asked the Kentucky Housing Corporation how often its Section 8 participants are terminated for violations. We have not received that information yet, but when we do, we will update this report.
Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.
1115 Mt. Auburn Road
Public File Contact: