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      Nuisance neighbors in court in Schoolcraft County

      Update: Thursday, June 17, 2:50 p.m.

      I spoke with Shamra Burke on the telephone Thursday at 2:40 p.m..

      She feels that the PPOs should not have been combined because she's had nothing to do with the signs, she says she's never threatened Mr. Hughson, and she and Kouw are not married.

      She adds that the police reports that Hughson filed when he applied for the PPOs were incomplete and feels the court wouldn't let her and Kouw use all of the evidence they brought.

      They are in the process of hiring an attorney and will take the matter to a higher court.


      We first introduced you to Manistique neighbors, Larry Kouw and Richard Hughson on June 7. Since that story ran, Hughson applied for a Personal Protection Order against both Kouw and his girlfriend, Shamra Burke.

      Wednesday was the PPO hearing in Manistique. After about a four-hour hearing, 93rd District Judge Mark Luoma made his decision and granted Hughson a PPO against both Larry Kouw and Shamra Burke.

      In court, Hughson and Kouw made many of the same bold statements they made to me last week: "This is why I have two pistols laying out there. Because I do not trust that guy," Kouw told the judge.

      Hughson and his attorney, Kirt Harmon, exchanged this dialog under oath: Harmon: "Do you fear for your life?"Hughson: "I fear for my life."Harmon: "Has he threatened you in the past?"Hughson: "Continuously."Harmon: "By continuously, is that everyday, or is that daily, or every other day, or...?"Hughson: "Probably every four days or something. It's quite often. It's all I hear."

      And Wednesday, a third party entered the picture, Shamra Burke, Kouw's girlfriend. She stressed that this is a battle between Kouw and Hughson, and through tears, she said she just wants to protect her daughters because she feels Hughson poses a threat to them.

      "I have asked from day one, even when I filed to try to get a Personal Protection Order against him, to leave my children alone. If you have a problem with Larry, then deal with it with Larry. Don't go after three children," said Burke.

      Each party brought to the stand a host of witnesses. One neighbor testified that Kouw and Burke are great neighbors and great parents. Another said that he's heard Kouw making threats.

      The final witness of the day was Hughson's son who says he's also witnessed Kouw's threats and taunting, and he got it on home video. That video was used as evidence.

      Judge Luoma took a brief recess and returned with his decision--Kouw and Burke are prohibited from stalking Hughson as defined by the Michigan Statute, and the Personal Protection Orders were granted.

      "And particularly important, they will be prohibited from threatening to kill or physically injure the petitioner, and they will be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm," said Judge Luoma. "Violation of this order subjects the respondents to immediate arrest in the civil and criminal contempt powers of the court."

      Following the announcement, Hughson's attorney had this to say. "I believe Mr. Hughson is very satisfied with the fact that he can rest peacefully in regards to his own yard and his own domain, not have to have a situation where these people are addressing him with vulgarities and threatening behaviors," Harmon said.

      Kouw and Burke were also tried to be reached for comment, but at the time the story ran, they had not yet returned that phone call.

      The Personal Protection Orders are good for one calendar year, and at the end of that year, Hughson can apply for an extension. In addition to the PPOs, Judge Luoma also decided that all of Kouw's signs be taken down within 24 hours.


      We want to know what you think about this.

      Do you think the judge's decision on Wednesday will end the dispute between two neighbors in Manistique?

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