Investigates

KELOLAND Investigates Follow-Up: Landlord Gets House Back

Lake Madison, SD - An update on a KELOLAND investigation that appears to have prompted those in the legal system to "do the right thing."

Last week, KELOLAND Investigates brought you the story of the landlord who was locked out of his Madison lake home for nearly three years.

His basement was the site of a crime scene and his former tenant plead guilty to killing his girlfriend.

You may remember we introduced you to Mike Verley who at first was not allowed on this property at all for a year beginning in 2016; and then was granted only access to the upper half. He had been fighting the legal system to get it back, to no avail.

"And you have no recourse--none. You have no rights," Verley said on February 20.

That's what landlord Mike Verley told us about this nearly three year ordeal after Joseph Schmitz shot and killed Corina Booth in the home they were renting from him.

Even through Schmitz had plead guilty to manslaughter and was awaiting sentencing, Verley still had no use of his lower level.

Verley: So that's the door that leads to the level of the home that the homicide happened.
Angela Kennecke: And they just took off the door knob?
Verley: Yeah, and put a deadbolt on.

Verley told KELOLAND Investigates that paying for a home he couldn't use and couldn't rent cost him about $50,000. Prosecutors had long ago agreed to give the home back, but the defense objected.
Shortly after our story aired, Verley was informed he would finally get his entire home back.

Angela Kennecke: Were you surprised?
Verley: I was glad, happy to get it back. I was very, very pleased. I was hesitant to talk with you and then grateful it had such a quick, less than two days," Verley said.

What he found behind the locked door wasn't such a pleasant surprise.

"That level is exactly as it was April 27 of 2016. It had a bit of a smell, I mean locked up musty, I now know what bananas look like after two years and nine months. And the fridge, I've only opened it twice and I won't open it again. I'm going to just put a strap around it and haul it out," Verley said.

Verley didn't want to take our cameras inside the basement on advice from his attorney, but the entire crime scene has been stripped and taken into evidence.

"They took out the top of two box springs. They took the covers off from the sofas; drew a grid on the wall and the carpet out, Verley said.

This week, Corina Booth's family was finally able to collect her belongings.

"I met with the victim's family yesterday and got her possessions out," Verley said.

Verley is working with his homeowner's insurance to try to cover some of the damage. He's not sure yet whether he'll file a lawsuit to try to recoup his lost income.

Angela Kennecke: Is this house sort of damaged goods now?

Verley: It's got some energy to it. It's kind of the heavy feeling.

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