Judge names owner of neglected cemetery - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Judge names owner of neglected cemetery

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

After more than 20 years, a judge has finally ruled who owns Lincoln Cemetery.

WSFA 12 News has covered the cemetery's conditions for quite some time--tall grass, broken graves, even exposed remains.

Over the last few years, efforts have been made to clean it up, but no one could ever determine who owned the property.

It sits at the corner of Harrison Road and Lincoln Road, behind the Ann Street Wal-Mart.

Amidst an ongoing battle in the courtroom is an ongoing effort to revitalize the sacred spot.

"How often am I out here? Sometimes everyday except Sunday," says Phyllis Armstrong.

She works tirelessly to clean up the cemetery.

"It's part of me...it's something I love. My children say, 'Mom, your living room is Lincoln.'"

You'd think she owned the property, but no.

She just wants to know who does.

"The judge declared we're the owner of the entire cemetery, "says Attorney Steve NeSmith.  NeSmith appealed a judge's ruling which declares the entire piece of property belongs to his client, Bobby Cheney.

"What my client bought was this 15 acre parcel right here."

NeSmith says his client bought the 15 acres in the 1980's, from a man named Frederick Berrey.

He says Berrey sold the other half to someone else and Cheney shouldn't be responsible for it.

"All this area where the trees are behind me was sold to Star City," says NeSmith.

The second reason NeSmith appealed the judge's ruling is he says his client handed the land back to Berrey more than 20 years ago.

"When the mortgage became due, Mr. Cheney didn't have any way to pay it, so he sought legal advice and deeded the property back to Mr. Berrey in lieu of foreclosure," says NeSmith.

Berrey's attorneys say Berrey never knew the deed was returned and therefore didn't challenge it in court, only to say he believed it was a fraud.

NeSmith says that still means the last deed on record has Berrey's name on it.

"We think he's the owner today," says NeSmith.

Even though the litigation may not be completely over, it's still a step in the right direction. Those involved in this entire process say that in and of itself is a relief.

"We hope something is solved and something gets done about this," says Armstrong.

The judge still hasn't ruled on the appeal.

He must rule on the appeal within 90 days or his original ruling naming Bobby Cheney the owner stands.

Once an owner is confirmed, the City of Montgomery will begin billing that person for the work maintenance crews did to clean up Lincoln Cemetery over the last few years.  Montgomery Public Works Director Chris Conway believes that total is between $4,000 and $6,000 dollars.

Copyright 2013  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • In new walkouts, students look to turn outrage to action

    In new walkouts, students look to turn outrage to action

    Friday, April 20 2018 12:26 AM EDT2018-04-20 04:26:49 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 9:46 AM EDT2018-04-21 13:46:12 GMT
    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this March 14, 2018 file photo, young demonstrators hold a rally in front of the White House in Washington. Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gu...(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this March 14, 2018 file photo, young demonstrators hold a rally in front of the White House in Washington. Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gu...

    Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gun control.

    More >>

    Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gun control.

    More >>
  • Jeb Bush to eulogize mother, Barbara, in private service

    Jeb Bush to eulogize mother, Barbara, in private service

    Saturday, April 21 2018 12:04 AM EDT2018-04-21 04:04:04 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 9:46 AM EDT2018-04-21 13:46:00 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci). Mourners pause as former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose during the visitation of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). Mourners pause as former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose during the visitation of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston.

    As the outpouring of tributes continues for Barbara Bush, the general public can pay its respects to the former first lady.

    More >>

    As the outpouring of tributes continues for Barbara Bush, the general public can pay its respects to the former first lady.

    More >>
  • Police: Stalker broke into Taylor Swift's NYC home, took nap

    Police: Stalker broke into Taylor Swift's NYC home, took nap

    Friday, April 20 2018 10:44 PM EDT2018-04-21 02:44:02 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 9:44 AM EDT2018-04-21 13:44:56 GMT
    Police said a stalker broke into the New York City townhouse of Taylor Swift, seen here performing at Z100's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)Police said a stalker broke into the New York City townhouse of Taylor Swift, seen here performing at Z100's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
    Police said a stalker broke into the New York City townhouse of Taylor Swift, seen here performing at Z100's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)Police said a stalker broke into the New York City townhouse of Taylor Swift, seen here performing at Z100's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Police say a stalker broke into Taylor Swift's New York City townhouse and took a nap.

    More >>

    Police say a stalker broke into Taylor Swift's New York City townhouse and took a nap.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly