SUNBURY — An imprisoned couple who claim to be “sovereign citizens” had their $20,000 cash bail reduced to unsecured bail Monday, but still remain in Northumberland County Jail because they don’t have a home plan in place after being accused of squatting at a home in Connorsville near Mount Carmel.
Northumberland County President Judge Charles Saylor reduced the bail for John and Jane Doe, whose real names are believed to be Kevin Gilgeours, of Jamaica, Queens, New York, and Kathleen Claxton, of Brooklyn, New York.
They must provide a home plan to authorities before being they can be released from prison.
They are each charged by Mount Carmel Township police with a felony count of criminal trespass and misdemeanors of endangering the welfare of a child, resisting arrest, public nuisances and disorderly conduct.
The charges relate to an Aug. 29 incident at 808 W. Fifth St., a few blocks away from Mount Carmel Area schools.
Police broke down a door to enter the home as Claxton and Gilgeours, who claimed to be “sovereign citizens,” resisted arrest.
A 4-year-old girl was found in the home.
Mount Carmel Township Patrolman Patrick McAndrew said the house was “unfit for human habitation” and in “deplorable” condition. The child was taken into custody by Northumberland County Children and Youth Services.
Police called the squatters Jane and John Doe because they refused to give their names or be fingerprinted.
Sovereign citizens denounce their citizenship and believe they are immune to laws.
The couple had been living in the home since purchasing it through a tax sale in 2015. There was no running water or power to the home, police said.
Mount Carmel Township Police Chief Brian Hollenbush said neighbors had complained of the couple taking showers in the rain naked. They allegedly used buckets in the home as toilets.
They lost the home due to not paying taxes and it was purchased by Frank DeVizia, of White Mills, Wayne County, at the July 24 Northumberland County judicial sale.
On Aug. 29, DeVizia reported people trespassing on the property and said his maintenance man for Real Capital Group LLC had been chased away by a male and female a few days prior when he attempted to make contact.
McAndrew reported police went with DeVizia to the home, where Gilgeours allegedly came to the window and refused to open the door. He then walked away from the window and returned with a cell phone he used to record the officers.
From the second floor, Claxton allegedly was heard yelling that officers had no legal grounds or proper court paperwork allowing them to enter.
The two refused to open the door, and when orders were issued that police were going to make entry, McAndrew said the male forced himself against the door and began barricading it.
More police units were called and, upon further refusal from the squatters to allow entry by police, Mount Carmel Lt. David Donkochik used a ram to attempt forced entry, police said.
A window was broken in an attempt to subdue the pair using pepper spray, but the effort was unsuccessful. The door was eventually forced open enough for police to use a taser on the male, after which they were able to take both into custody without further use of force.
The girl was found sitting on a bed in a second-floor bedroom.