Errol Speed of Orcas Island was found guilty of having constructed a structure without any permits; and failing to provide approved sewage disposal in a place where people reside.
The six-person jury did not believe his explanations that the furnished building was an agricultural building.
Speed's attorney Lawrence Delay argued during the three-day trial, that the building was an accessory agricultural building not a dwelling unit.
Speed explained the bed, couch and clothes were being stored in the building. The bird in the cage was the last of many that his family had bred for sale.
Speed said he lived in a trailer on the property. The trailer has no water, power or toilet facilities. The "ag building" has solar panels and water. There was no approved sewage design for the property. There were two privies on the property.
Speed did not have any building permits for the building. This is the second time he has built a living structure without permits. The previous case was in 1998. Delay said Speed was unaware of rules about building permits.
This situation became a criminal matter after efforts to resolve it as a civil matter were unsuccessful.
The case has dragged out for more than a year. The defense asked for numerous hearings regarding the search warrant, the altitude airplanes must maintain over the property, the definition of "inhabit".
Sentencing is tentatively set for 2 p.m. October 23. The charges are punishable up to 90 days in jail or a $1,000 fine or both. Plus restitution and court costs.
District Court Judge Stewart Andrew declared a mistrial for the two other counts after the jury said they could not reach an unanimous decision. Those counts were:
Count II: Violation of the Unified Development Code: Unlawful occupancy of a building or structure without an occupancy permit. Punishable up to 90 days in jail or a $1,000 fine or both. Plus restitution and court costs.
Count IV: Making false or misleading statements to a public servant. This is a gross misdemeanor punishable up to 364 days in jail or a $5,000 fine or both. Plus restitution, assessments and court costs.
The false and misleading statement concerned his statement to the county Assessor that the building was an agricultural building and not a dwelling unit. The building was therefore assessed at a lower value and Speed wasn't paying his fair share of property tax.
Speed had no comment after the decision. Neither did the deputy prosecutor or the defense attorney.
Speed testified the couch is being stored in the building. He didn't explain the throw pillows, knick-knacks, globe, coffee table, magazines, etc.
Speed described this fully made up bed as a mattress covered with a blanket. He said he stores it horizontally in the building so he can use it to keep chicks warm. He told the jury he places boards on the mattress and then places the chicks on top.
The building was built as an agricultural building to process agriculture products, Speed told the court. The kitchen is used only for canning and pickling, he said with the one exception of a single Christmas dinner for his family.
The back entry is a loading dock for the agricultural business, according to Speed.