By Jesse Wood
Dec. 13, 2012. Eustace Conway of Turtle Island was arrested yesterday afternoon after being served a warrant for second-degree trespassing on a neighbors land in the Triplett community of Watauga County.
Margaret A. Palms, who resides at 2473 Little Laurel Road, reported the offense to Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. The offense is dated Sunday, Dec. 9, and the warrant was issued on Monday, Dec. 10, according to records filed at the Watauga County Courthouse.
At 4:11 p.m. on Wednesday, Watauga County Sherriff’s Deputy S. Morrison served the warrant to Conway, who was then brought to the Watauga County Magistrates.
According to those records, Conway “unlawfully and willfully” entered the premises of Palms after being notified not to enter or remain on her property.
“He went and tied our gate shut, so we couldn’t get out and he put posters all over our gates, mailboxes, fences. Then he put big wooden barriers, so we couldn’t get out,” Palms said on Thursday morning. “He just kind of went nuts.”
Palms said that there is only one way to drive off of her property, which borders Conway’s Turtle Island Preserve, a 1,000-acre primitive living site and educational camp that has existed for 26 years and recently closed to the public.
Palms, an attorney and real estate agent in Boone, said that Conway disputes the property line. She has lived at 2473 Little Laurel Road for 18 years and said she used to be good friends with Conway until about five or six years ago.
“He comes trespassing from time to time, and we’ve asked him not to. He’s harassing us,” Palms said. “I just want him to stay away from our property.”
Reached on Thursday morning, Conway said he wished he could respond, but his lawyer advised him to not make any comments to the press regarding the trespassing charge.
Turtle Island Preserve has been closed to the public since mid October for violating building and health codes after a neighbor called the department of Watauga County Planning and Inspections about unpermitted buildings being built on the Turtle Island Property.
Director Joe Furman later received a detailed map of the property. Furman added that he didn’t talk to or know the name of the complainant, but Furman said he believed it was a male who called and reported the unpermitted buildings.
Asked if she was the neighbor who complained, Palms replied, “No.”
Conway was released yesterday afternoon with a written promise to appear in court on Jan. 24, 2013. The document of his release at the courthouse stated, “Do Not Threaten or Harass Margaret Palms.”
Editor’s Note: Several months later, the charges were dismissed.
For more background information and details on the code violations and Turtle Island Preserve, click to these previous articles:
Most Recent, March 1, 2013: http://www.hcpress.com/news/in-light-of-turtle-island-eustace-conways-plight-state-building-code-staff-to-recommend-code-modifications-that-would-address-primitive-habitats.html